Kimberley has a reputation within the Regional District of East Kootenay that it may not want — that of being the worst community for invasive plants.
And with a budget of $18,000 yearly for invasive plant control, only ten per cent of these plants are treated.
The two companies hired to treat invasive plants in Kimberley in 2015, Maple Leaf Forestry and Mountain View Resources, have submitted a report to Council, which says that there are currently 12 species of invasive plants within city limits. The report says that the City needs to up its invasive plant budget to $60,000 ($30,000 for all streets and back alleys within the urban areas and $30,000 for the outer fringes).
Invasive plants thrive on disturbed ground, and there is plenty of that in and around Kimberley. It can be large areas of disturbed land, such as the land along Jim Ogilvie Way or very small areas, such as weeds thriving around the bases of city-planted trees.
The report indicates that Teck has done a very good job of containing invasives as it has gone about its reclamation work but other private developments have not adhered to the laws of the BC Weed Control Act.
“Developments like Forest Crowne and Sullivan Landing are becoming seed sources for invasive plants within Kimberley,” the report says.
The report further says the contractors are reluctant to bid on Kimberley’s invasive plant program because the budget is so small that it allows for only a percentage of invasive plants to be treated and may lead to the impression that the contractors are not doing their job.
With its recommendation of upping the budget, the report points out that there may be funding sources such as grants. Beginning a Weed Aware program, similar to Bear Aware, to educate people on the dangers of allowing invasive weeds to get out of control is also recommended. Such a program could be funded through higher levels of government the report suggests. The report also suggests a special parcel tax could be created.
In any event, talking of increasing any budget when money is so tight is not going to be easy for Council. The report was received at the last regular Council meeting before Christmas but was deferred for consideration by the Committee of the Whole.
With budget deliberations fully underway, the report will be coming to Council for a decision, likely in the next couple of weeks.