Regional mosquito program costs rise with ramped up control efforts | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Regional mosquito program costs rise with ramped up control efforts

RDOS Mosquito program technician Cindy Boehm, left, demonstrates spray equipment to board members while program manager Zoe Kirk addresses the regional district board last Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017.
August 21, 2017 - 2:53 PM

PENTICTON - It’s been a busy year for members of the Regional District’s mosquito control program.

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen projects coordinator Zoe Kirk gave the board a mid-season update during a the environmental committee meeting last week, Aug. 17.

Calling it a “brutal” year for mosquito control, Kirk noted the high water throughout the region made treatment programs very difficult, as floodwaters were so high crews had difficulty accessing sites.

The high water also meant areas took longer to treat, used up more larvicide and five helicopter flights to spry were needed on a budget based on three flights.

Kirk said some places in the South Okanagan saw water tables continue to rise into August, the result being cost overruns to this year’s budget, including a $30,000 increase in wages for time spent on the mosquito program this year.

The high water also presented issues of personal safety for staff, who carried a 50 pound backpack sprayer into flooded areas where missteps included getting stuck in mud, and nearly stepping into a well.

Kirk presented two budget issues to the directors, noting final costs for 2017 still needed to be addressed by staff, as a report is prepared to address this year’s cost overruns.

Kirk also predicted next year will be bad for mosquitos when eggs laid in high water this year have an opportunity to hatch, indicating she would be returning to the board with a possible increase to the budget for next year.

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