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County's weed inspection draft policy goes to committee

Aim is that prohibited noxious weeds are eradicated and noxious weeds are controlled
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MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - The county's agricultural service board (ASB) has sent a draft weed inspection policy and procedure to the county’s governance review committee for consideration.

The move came by way of motion at the board’s Jan. 18 meeting, held by teleconference.

In December the board directed administration to draft the policy and procedure, the first of its kind for the municipality.

“While the Weed Control Act provides guidance on enforcement, historically the county’s program has worked with landowners to try and resolve weed issues rather than through weed notices,” said Jane Fulton, assistant director of legislative, community and agriculture services.

The draft policy has the stated purpose “to ensure that prohibited noxious weeds are eradicated and noxious weeds are controlled under the Weed Control Act of Alberta and the Weed Control Regulations and to educate and raise landowner and occupant awareness of prohibited noxious and noxious weeds.”

There are four stated principles of the draft policy:

• Mountain View County through program established and set in place by the ASB and as approved by council will aim to eradicate prohibited noxious weeds and control noxious weeds further preventing their spread.

• Prohibited noxious weeds and noxious weeds may be designated under the Weed Control Act or through a bylaw of Mountain View County.

• Seasonal or permanent agriculture services staff shall be appointed by the chief administrative officer as weed inspectors to carry out the responsibilities of this policy and the Weed Control Act.

• The agricultural services will work with landowners and occupants to increase awareness of prohibited noxious and noxious weeds.

The draft procedure sets out guidelines for inspections, complaints, compliance and weed control.

The compliance section states, in part, that, “if voluntary compliance is unsuccessful and the infestation warrants action, an enforcement letter will be sent requesting weeds be controlled within the timeline requested.”

Where a landowner or tenant has been issued a weed notice and fails to comply, the county shall “hire a private contractor to carry out the actions required pursuant to the Weed Notice, and charge the full invoice for such work to the landowner or tenant.”

If a private contractor is unable to complete the actions required under the Weed Notice in a timely fashion, as determined by the assistant director of legislative, community and agricultural services or designate, the county shall use its own equipment and personnel to complete such actions and charge the landowner or tenant for the work.

After being reviewed by the county’s governance review committee, the draft policy and procedures could be forwarded to county council for further consideration, she said. 

The ASB is made up of appointed public members and county councillors. It advises the county and province on agriculture issues and concerns.