District of West Vancouver council voted Monday (March 28) night in favour of writing a letter to the B.C. provincial government, requesting an extension to the feedback period of the South Coast pest management plan and its use of herbicide sprays, set to come into effect April 1.
The unanimous vote comes as outcry grows against the proposed five-year BC Timber Sales Pest Management Plan, which covers Squamish to Hope, and targets native hardwoods and Indigenous medicines and food in efforts to increase the provincial agency’s lumber output.
Bringing the motion to council after sending his own personal email to BC Timber Sales and provincial ministers, Coun. Bill Soprovich said the reason he brought it to council was to “emphasize the need again, by this municipality, yourself and this council, to give another reminder to the government that it's coming from not just one citizen.”
“Quite frankly, Madam Mayor, if [Angelina Hopkins Rose] did not pick the ad out of the paper in Hope, no one would have known about this,” he said.
Both Soprovich and Coun. Peter Lambur noted the urgency of the letter, as public feedback to BC Timber Sales officially ended on March 27, 30 days after the public posting in the Hope Standard newspaper on Feb. 25.
Coun. Nora Gambioli said that after confirming with staff that herbicides will not be used within the district’s boundary, it “doesn't mean we shouldn't write a letter and express our concerns.”
However, Soprovich explained that in his communications with the district’s parks environment and ecosystems manager, Matthew MacKinnon, MacKinnon didn’t agree with the herbicides being used, and they discussed the “antiquated” aspects of the pest management plan.
“You can’t control helicopter’s spray, you can’t control winds, and even if it is a long distance away, what if it is near … the drinking water. … They spray these areas and that gets into the drinking water, let alone into the creeks, which harm salmon and all the wildlife,” he said.
“This is just a ridiculous move. There's got to be a better way.”