DOC debates IHA larvicide letter

If a provincial agency orders an action by a municipal government, such as spraying mosquitoes for West Nile Virus, should the provincial government have to pay for it?

If a provincial agency orders an action by a municipal government, should the provincial government have to pay for it?

That was a question District of Clearwater councilors debated Feb. 8 when discussing a letter from Interior Health Authority.

In the letter, IHA officials have advised mayors in the southern Interior that they did not at present intend to issue local governments with an order to larvicide to control West Nile Virus this spring or summer. However, that decision could be changed by evidence of increased West Nile Virus from its monitoring programs.

Councilor Bert Walker was concerned because the letter appeared to be saying IHA might order larviciding with or without provincial funding. 

At his suggestion, a letter is being sent to the health authority, asking for clarification. Copies of the letter are being sent to MLA Terry Lake and Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

According to the IHA letter, West Nile Virus only recently made its way into B.C. Some positive mosquitoes were found in the Okanagan in the summer of 2009. The virus extended northward during the summer of 2010, with some dead crows found in Kelowna testing positive. However, there has been no large-scale bird die-off and only three human cases over the two years.

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that mainly attacks birds. Most people who are infected do not show any symptoms, although some can get very sick and even die. It first appeared in North America in 1999.