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Proposed bylaw to address invasive species in Whistler

Proposed bylaw to address invasive species in Whistler
Executive Director - Sat Apr 30, 2011 @ 04:32PM
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X-20100320162638031.jpgOften mistaken for wildflowers, invasive plants are spreading through Whistler's natural ecosystems. The Resort Municipality of Whistler is a partner of the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council and has been working diligently to manage the spread of invasive species in Whistler and the Sea to Sky Corridor.

Invasive plants often aggressively spread and consume food and water that would have otherwise been used by local plants.These include plants such as Japanese Knotweed, Scotch Broom, Giant Hogweed, Yellow Lily, and more.

While it’s not adopted yet, a new bylaw, which amends the Garbage Disposal and Wildlife Attractants Bylaw, hopes to address the issue by banning the improper disposal of invasive species. At a recent meeting, Council passed a motion for staff to proceed with amending the bylaw, which will be brought back to Council for review on May 3, 2011.

The proposed bylaw amendment includes a definition of invasive species and makes it mandatory for them to be disposed of in designated bins at the Whistler transfer station or the garbage compactors at the Nesters and Function sites. It also sets a new tipping fee of $30 per tonne to dispose of invasive plant species materials, provided the tipper has been “invasive-free” certified by the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council.

The free certification program is the first of its kind in B.C., and aims to promote effective invasive plant management in the Sea to Sky corridor. Several workshop dates are available, starting on Tuesday (April 19) in Whistler and April 22 in Pemberton. (click here for certification workshop dates).

Both individuals and companies can be certified to deal with invasive species. Upon completion of the program, certification stickers are handed out. For a company to be certified, a minimum of 50 per cent of the company’s staff must attend the workshop and all crew leaders must attend.

Dealing with invasive species requires effort on several fronts. An invasive species disposal project is also being piloted and will assist with the proposed bylaw amendments outlined above. The pilot program will also target local horticulture and landscaping companies and offer two components;

  1. Education on identification, effective control, transportation and proper disposal of invasive species
  2. Certification opportunities, which enable marketing and branding opportunities and eligibility for the reduced tipping fee.

The project timeline is April until June 2011, at which point staff will review the results. For more information, please contact: Kim Slater, Environmental Coordinator, 604-935-8198 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 604-935-8198 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, kslater@whistler.ca


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