Pesticides at top of Castlegar council agenda

City has an interest in ultimately steering clear of chemical products

Diana Daghofer speaks for 'Prevent Cancer Now' to city council on Dec. 16

A delegation related to the reduction and eventual elimination of chemical pesticides led off the proceedings at the Castlegar City Council meeting of Dec. 16.

Making a video presentation, Diana Daghofer spoke on behalf of an outfit called Prevent Cancer Now, which is dedicated to eliminating all preventable forms of cancer. She is the volunteer co-chair of the group.

“We believe there are a lot of people who recognized long before scientists,” she stated, “that a lot of cancers can be prevented.” She told council that less than two per cent of public tax money goes into research in primary cancer prevention, “and we think that’s far too low,” she said.

A major part of the organization’s message involves ending people’s exposure to carcinogens.

“There are a lot of people arguing that there are many carcinogens they’re unknowingly being exposed to, or even if they do know about it, really don’t have any choice,” in the matter.

Daghofer expressed some optimism in regard to the issue linking people with chemicals such as pesticides. She mentioned a number of alternative formulas that have been used in lieu of chemical pesticides, and said they’ve proven quite effective. Her presentation lasted for about a half an hour.

Diana Daghofer’s presentation was well-received, with councillors Kevin Chernoff and Dan Rye each addressing the topic that has been on the city’s agenda for quite some time. Chernoff was particularly grateful for city staff who had put together a “very good, comprehensive report” on the subject. He pointed out that in addition to Castlegar, Grand Forks, Nelson and Trail had each been involved in herbicide-free programs with varying levels of success.

Councillor Rye described his enlightenment that came with the staff report. “I was surprised to find some areas only getting sprayed once every four years. I thought we sprayed all the time… just a normal occasion,” he said before later concluding, “If we can get away from pesticides altogether… we’ll continue to look for that.”

Councillor Rye also spoke to an agenda item concerning a report on the ongoing sister-city arrangement with the Japanese city of Embetsu. He was very complementary and supportive of the program.

Council received a report in regard to boundary expansion and an alternative approval process that may allow it to happen. The land in question is known as the Ootischenia Pit Lands at the east end of the Kinnaird Bridge, and across Highway 3 from the airport – a proposed Highway 3 right of way.

Part of the recommendation that council agreed to was the stipulation that a deadline of Feb 3, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. be set for receiving elector response forms for the approval process.

Council received an update report on the Radon research project the city has agreed to take part in along with the BC lung Association. As documented of late, the city has been interested in some form of a radon mitigation bylaw being built into the provincial building code. Such a bylaw would be especially significant in Castlegar which is known to have radon levels higher than the provincial average.

The project is to involve three test groups of homeowners, with direct research costs, including radon test kits and testing, plus installation of added mitigation systems, to be   paid by the BC Lung Association.

Along with various other civic business, first, second and third reading was given to regulation and rates amendment bylaws for water, sewer and garbage. Adoption could likely occur at an upcoming council meeting. The taxpayer does face an increase but, as Coun. Sue Heaton Sherstobitoff sees it, not too steep a hike.

“Your water, your garbage and your sewer… all three of them combined… just a ten dollar increase for the year, which is about 83 cents a month.”