City apologizes for herbicide error

Kinsmen Park sprayed for weeds, contrary to policy.

An internal mistake has resulted in Castlegar’s Kinsmen Park being treated with herbicide, contrary to the city’s plan for the park.

On May 2 and 3, a number of city properties were treated with herbicide in accordance with the city’s integrated pest management plan. As part of the plan, turfed areas are monitored for weeds and only treated if they show excessive weed growth. The treated areas with the year that they were last treated are Kinsmen Park (2009), Cone Hill Park (2012), Thirty-Second St. flower beds (2015), Branson Park (2012), Complex boulevards — not playing fields (2014), Fire Hall lawn (2015), Woodland Park Triangle (2012) and Pioneer Arena lawn (2012).

The problem with the list is that Kinsmen Park has been selected to remain herbicide free, regardless of the weed growth.

In addition, the city has an internal policy to provide one week’s notice of upcoming treatments on the city’s website. This notice period was missed. However, provincially approved signage and non-use requirements were followed.

The City of Castlegar apologized in a press release, “The city sincerely apologizes to park users and the public for the error in treating Kinsmen Park and the insufficient notice period.The city sincerely apologizes to park users and the public for the error in treating Kinsmen Park and the insufficient notice period.”

The press release also stated, “The city has suspended any further treatments until additional formal treatment approval procedures are established so that this type of oversight will not happen again. In addition, the city will be reviewing the areas currently receiving treatment.”

Transportation and civic works director Chris Barlow explained that the fields are monitored several times a year for weed conditions. “Kinsmen was reviewed and was very weedy, because it is an area that we have not been treating with herbicides,” he said. “I just missed it — it got treated and it is very unfortunate that it happened. It was just a mix-up and oversight on my part, and I apologize to the public for it.”

The city has a treat as needed when needed herbicide policy that Barlow says has been successful in bringing Castlegar’s fields up to a good standard. “The whole program is still an important and proper program,” he said. “The only unfortunate part is that we treated an area that was not supposed to be treated.”