School District 5 is planning limited use of pesticides starting this week, to deal with some trouble areas that have not been able to be treated by other means.
Chris Johns, trustee, said the district's maintenance crews have had huge successes using other methods besides pesticides since they implemented a policy of limited use in May 2010.
"Our policy requires that we only use pesticide application as the last resort and only within an integrated pest and turf management plan using best practice and the safest known legal products," he said.
District maintenance staff have been collecting and implementing alternative measures since the policy began.
Unfortunately, some areas have outfoxed all the alternative measures, so the district will be moving forward with limited use of pesticides to ensure the safety of students and staff.
"We knew that there might be some problem areas as we work on reducing pesticide use, but we remain committed to the reduction and to always look for safe alternatives," Johns said.
Since the pesticide policy was put in place, the district has seen a significant reduction in the use of pesticides according to Johns. Right now, staff have indicated seven areas that require treatment including the district office in Cranbrook and a gopher infestation at Parkland Middle School that has created a serious tripping hazard for recreating students.
"We've kept a close eye on District property to see how the new limits would play out, and overall things are looking good," Johns said. "However, there are a few school locations where we have to consider immediate risks to student safety."
The areas to be treated will be clearly marked for the public.
"Everything will be posted," Johns said. "There will be signage up to alert the community."
The district tries to do pesticide treatment on non-instructional days or during the summer if it has to be done. Children are kept well away from the areas if they are in classes during the work.
The spraying was expected to begin today. Liquid fertilizing is also being conducted on district properties using a boom sprayer as per regular yearly maintenance.
A copy of the district's limited pesticide policy titled "Application of Pesticides to District Buildings or Grounds" is available on the SD5 website at sd5.bc.ca.