Council decides on pest appeal

by Ashley Janes

Council Voted in favour of the Terms of Reference for an Agricultural Pests Act Appeal Committee and Weed Control Act Appeal Committee during the Oct. 14 meeting.

According to the document, the purpose of the two committees is to hear and make decisions regarding notices issued against land, property, or livestock that contains or is likely to contain a pest, or should be protected against a pest. They will also hear and make decisions on appeals concerning notices for the destruction or control of the named weed.

Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Oyarzun said it is an interesting approach in comparison to rural municipalities. “Rural municipalities have the challenge that many members of their Council also sit on their Agricultural Service Board, which does pose a bit of a conflict with respect to weed control and agricultural pest control. Our Council does not have an Agricultural Service Board, as we are an urban municipality, so our Council, as you can [see] in the Terms of Reference, is set as the appeal committee for both pieces of legislation.”

The current Council, now at the end of their first year in office, were asked to approve terms of reference for a committee initially discussed in May of 2013 when Administration brought forward correspondence from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development outlining the Municipality’s responsibilities under the Agricultural Pests Act (APA) and Weed Control Act (WCA).

Under the authority of the Acts, the previous Council appointed Morinville’s Community Peace Officers as Morinville’s Municipal Inspectors, and also appointed Council as the Appeal Boards.

Fifteen months later, Administration presented the DRAFT Terms of Reference for the Agricultural Pests Act Appeal Committee and the Weed Control Act Appeal Committee for Council’s review, which Council approved on the same night.

Under the now approved terms of reference, the Agricultural Pests Act Appeal Committee will consist of members of Council appointed annually at the Organizational Meeting of Council,” from which a Chair will be elected prior to a hearing and will hold office for one year. The same organizational structure applies to the Weed Control Act Appeal Committee.

Council is set to hold their annual Organizational meeting at the Oct. 28 meeting of Morinville Town Council.

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