RDEK moving forward with vote on mosquito plan

Regional government holding a vote with Bull River/Wardner residents to set up a mosquito control program.

The RDEK is moving forward on a mosquito control plan for the Bull River and Wardner area, but need electoral approval before a program is set up.

After community groups commissioned some assessment reports, the RDEK determined a service area boundary with an expected $55,000 cost to getting a mosquito control program up and running in the spring of 2017.

Before that can happen, the RDEK needs electoral approval, which will come in the form of a yes or no vote by November, said Area C director Rob Gay.

“Years ago, they talked about a mosquito control program and it went to a vote and the people said no and that was it,” Gay said. “…We’ve had a number of public meetings and there was 60-80 people and the overwhelming feeling, I thought, was lets go ahead and look at this again.”

At a regional board meeting last week, the RDEK voted to set up a yes or no vote, where residents within the mosquito service area can lend their support or opposition to the mosquito control program.

Now, the vote plan must be sent away for provincial approval before the RDEK can set up a voting day, likely a Saturday in November.

Gay says setting up a mosquito control plan can be a time-consuming process that requires some up-front costs.

“The problem with a mosquito control area is you need to spend some money up front to find out where the mosquitoes are before you can put a price tag on it,” Gay said. “So if they’re in two ponds, it’s quite reasonable, but if they’re all over the place, it’s going to cost you more.

“But you have to find out, and you need a professional to do this.”

Local residents commissioned some studies with funding from the Columbia Basin Trust, with the RDEK eventually getting involved to potentially set up a control program.

The cost breakdown is $35,000 for a treatment contract, $5,000 in salaries and overhead, a $5,000 reserve fund contribution, and a one-time 2017 service startup fee of $10,000.

According to a telephone survey of 147 property owners, 82 per cent of respondents reported that mosquitos were a nuisance.

“What people who live out there know is that in flood years, it’s really bad,” Gay said. “On a year that it doesn’t flood, like this year, it’s not as bad. But there are areas there — colony road is a good example — where you can’t even get out of your home.”