Govt to look at grasshopper ‘plague’

(B.C. Ministry of Agriculture photo)

(B.C. Ministry of Agriculture photo)

Help may be on the way to curb the burgeoning grasshopper population in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

Or not. But at least it’s a maybe.

Ken Gillis.

Ken Gillis.

The issue was raised earlier this year by board Director Ken Gillis of Electoral Area L, which includes part of Pritchard and a lot of the grasslands to the south. Gillis pointed out there used to be a Grasshopper Control Act in B.C., and got the board’s blessing to talk to Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick during the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual convention in Vancouver in September.

Gillis says the grasshopper population has exploded and is now “a plague,” posing a serious economic threat to ranchers and farmers.

Today (Dec. 10, 2015), the TNRD board received Letnick’s official reply by letter, which thanked Gillis and the board for raising the issue.

Letnick didn’t promise to bring back the Grasshopper Control Act, but he did say the government will look seriously at the problem. He said his understanding is that grasshoppers have become more of a concern during prolonged dry weather.

He said he has followed up with Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart and, “as a result, I have asked ministry staff to contact you to better understand your concerns and what options may be available to address them.”

He said they’ll also discuss the issue with Environment Minister Mary Polak.

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