The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Service is travelling the province seeking input on provincial budget deliberations in September and October, and stopped in Cranbrook on Monday, September 30
A number of different organizations presented to the committee seeking to direct some government funding their way. Included in that group was the Meadowbrook Community Association, which brought its concerns about underfunding of noxious weed programs in the Regional District of East Kootenay.
Bob Johnstone of the Meadowbrook Community Association presented to the Committee. Johnstone says that while the government has legislation designating responsibilities for noxious weeds, which indicates concern, funding for dealing with weeds is being cut.
“Provincial funding for control of noxious weeds in the East Kootenay has decreased over the past three years from $469.761.43 in 2011 to $295,000.00 this year,” Johnstone said.
“As a result, existing infestations are thriving and adjacent areas are being contaminated.”
The Province’s efforts to preserve agricultural capacity and to promote tourism can be seriously impaired if noxious weeds are not controlled, he continued.
The RDEK has a cost sharing program to assist property owners with weed control, and while money shrinks, applications to the program have increased from 32 in 2010 to 63 thus far in 2013.
Johnstone decided to present in person to the committee in hopes of having more of an impact.
“Last year our association made a written submission to this Select Standing Committee requesting additional provincial funding and action,” he said. “The result was a reduction in funding for the East Kootenay of close to $175,000; so this year we came in person.”
The Meadowbrook Community Association believes a partnership between the provincial government, local governments, community associations and individual landowners to educate about the threat of noxious weeds; control noxious weeds; and enforce the legislative requirement to address the issue is needed.
To reach those goals, the Association requests stable, long-term funding for noxious weed programs province-wide.
The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services is an all-party parliamentary committee of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. All British Columbians are invited to submit to the committee.
The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. The committee will release its report by Friday, Nov. 15, 2013.