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City not controlling noxious weeds in parks, city lands, organization says

The Northwest Invasive Plant Council is asking city council to restore funding to control invasive weeds on city land.
Highway 16 weeds 1
The Northwest Invasive Plant Council is asking Prince George city council to restore funding to its program to control noxious weeds on city property.

The Northwest Invasive Plant Council is calling on city council to restore funding to control noxious, invasive weeds on city property.

In 2021, the city eliminated the contract with the non-profit organization to save roughly $19,000 per year. The B.C. Weed Control Act requires land owners or occupiers to control designated, invasive weed species, Northwest Invasive Plant Council program manager Penni Adams told council.

“All our noxious are invasive plants. We focus on high-priority species, not dandelions and stuff like that,” Adams said. “There are some really nasty weeds out there in our parks, especially Cottonwood Island Park.”

The city contracted the Northwest Invasive Plant Council from 2008 to 2020 to do the work. The organization worked with AimHi and DART to provide training and work to people to people with intellectual challenges and recovering addicts, Adams said.

“I would say we’re off-track with the program. We haven’t done any work (on city lands) in two years,” Adams said. “We’re getting more and more calls from your constituents. They are used to seeing our crews out and they’re not seeing them, and want to know why.”

When the group gets calls reporting noxious weeds on City of Prince George land, they advise those people to call 311 to report them to the city, she said.

City director of finance Kris Dalio said funding for the program was cut when the city’s environmental services department was cut.

City director of civic operations Blake McIntosh said the city is aware of invasive weeds in its parks, but doesn’t have the capacity to manage them.

“We did have a dedicated position,” McIntosh said. “That position was eliminated, unfortunately.”

City council will consider approving the funding during its second budget meeting on Wednesday.