Liability prevents private spraying of pesticides

It would not take much driving around the City of Kelowna to see that there are still hundreds of trees under attack by beetles.

To the editor:

In recent articles regarding local forests and forest pest management, City of Kelowna forester Blair Stewart and Ministry of Forests entomologist Lorraine MacLauchlan seemed to be trying to reassure us that all is well in the woods.

However, it would not take much driving around the City of Kelowna to see that there are still hundreds of trees under attack mainly by the pine beetle but also from spruce budworm (which attacks spruce and fir varieties). Then there are attacks from tussock fir moth which destroys trees very quickly. Drive around. You will see hundreds of trees dieing.

This is mainly because the city and the province refuse to do any spraying (BTK-organic pesticide) on private lands. They try to collapse the population by only spraying on public lands. However, it is obvious that in the city boundaries, most of the land is private so the spraying is often ineffective,

Two years ago residents of the Joe Rich area organized to have private lands sprayed with the help of a private contractor and some coordination with the ministry. Most residents agreed to pay for this themselves.

Because of liability issues this became an impossible task and the ministry withdrew support. The result—hundreds more trees dieing on private and public land. (This despite some limited spraying on public lands that, again, was supposed to collapse the population.)

Most property owners of any size cannot afford to do private spraying all by themselves. It can involve hundreds of trees and cost thousands of dollars.

There is a real need for a coordinated effort by all levels of government to make spraying effective. There are examples where this has been done in other municipalities e.g. Kamloops and Richmond.

The Joe Rich residents appealed to the local regional district to take up the cause. Nothing happened and there was little support from the director. Meanwhile, the trees just sit there turning orangy brown and wasting away, creating a tremendous fire hazard. This results in a much faster run off and flooding problems, as seen this spring.

The regional district and the director simply ignore their responsibilities. In doing so, they continue their record as also shown by nothing being done with the dangerous, flooded out Muttit property, along Highway 33.

What do we pay taxes for, anyways?

Reg Volk,

Kelowna

Kelowna Capital News