Article from the Squamish Chief (7th November 2013):
Knotweed drives up DOS bills
Request for $350K to battle invasive plant forwarded to budget process
There’s a battle going on in Squamish, one that could cost an estimated $1.2 million.
Japanese knotweed has spread roots around more than 43 hectares of land within the District of Squamish’s boundaries. The aggressive invasive plant can be found on 192 locations around town, reaching from Crown land to school properties, noted a report tabled to council at Committee of the Whole on Tuesday (Nov. 5).
“It is quite extensive,” said Bob Smith, the municipality’s director of operations. “There is a fairly big concern there.”
Since 2010, the municipality has contributed $4,000 a year to the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC) to train employees on identifying and dealing with various invasive plant species. Last year, council granted the non-profit society an additional $4,000 in the district’s operations budget to manage unwanted plants on district-owned land.
While the district and SSICS are in the process of mapping out all its invasive species sites, Japanese knotweed is growing at an exponential rate. To kill the plant, which poses a serious threat to infrastructure and the environment, a chemical must be injected into the stem of each plant, or they can be chopped down and the re-growth sprayed with glyphosate — a.k.a. Round-up.
The SSISC requested an additional $4,000 in next year’s budget to remove knotweed to provide safe sightlines and clear access to municipal infrastructure.
The total budget to treat all of the Japanese knotweed within the district totals $1.2 million, staff noted. If council dealt solely with knotweed of district-owned land, the bill sits at $351,000.
It’s a hefty price tag, Coun. Doug Race noted. Although the municipal piggy bank likely doesn’t hold enough cash to deal with knotweed throughout the district, he suggested Squamish tackle knotweed on its own land.
“At the very least we should be responsible for our land, taking a leadership role,” Race said, noting the bill could be broken down over three years.
Officials backed Race’s motion to forward the request to the district’s budgeting process.