Andru McCrackenBy Andru McCracken

Carrier Lumber Ltd’s Chief Executive Officer Bill Kordyban has announced the company will no longer spray broadleaf herbicides from the air for a three year period in the Robson Valley Timber Supply Area. Kordyban thanked residents for numerous emails and letters and their respectful tone.

The measure would begin this summer and last three years at which time the company would review things.
“During this time, limited, targeted manual application of herbicide will be used, but only where necessary for the control of herbaceous and broadleaf vegetation complexes,” he said.

“Manual brushing will be the preferred means of treatment to meet our contractual obligations with government.”

Kordyban said that the move would put Carrier at a competitive disadvantage and as such, asked for help.

“It would be appreciated if you could advocate to the government to allow for more natural ingress of broadleaf species in our silviculture stocking standards,” he said.

Kordyban said that changing provincial policy would result in reduced use of herbicides in forestry applications across the province.

Valemount resident Debbie Knudslien was an active voice and organizer in an ad hoc campaign and petition to get Carrier Lumber to stop using the pesticide.

“It’s inspiring to see that concerned citizens coming together for a common goal can actually make an impact towards positive and hopefully lasting change,” said Knudslien. “A total ban of the use of glyphosate needs to be a top priority,” she said.

For James Steidle, the activist behind Stop the Spray BC, it is progress.

“I feel like this is what all companies need to be doing. It sounds to me like Carrier is stepping up to the plate and taking the hit for the good of our forests,” said Steidle. “I think they are being genuine that this will put Carrier at a disadvantage. Good on them for taking the hit.”

Steidle echoed Carrier Lumber’s call to change government regulations.

“Government has ridiculous restrictions on silviculture stocking standards and they need to be loosened up,” he said. “This is the first time we have seen a major company advocating for change at the government level.”

Steidle said other companies have implemented what he called ‘half-assed measures.’
“You never see them say that provincial regulations need to change,” he said.

Knudslien still has questions about the ground application of the pesticide.

”Who knows what their idea of ‘as deemed necessary’ means for ground spraying,” she said. “The fact is that it is still poison that they are spraying. It is still harmful to all, sprayers (humans) and the ecosystem.”

Steidle said there is still a lot of work to do.

“We’re pushing for a cultural shift in how society sees different trees,” he said.

“People are talking about planting a billion trees to save the planet. Nobody is digging deeper than that to see the difference. We are trying to raise the importance of leafy trees and aspen trees.”

He said Stop the Spray BC’s campaign is hitting a nerve with society and spreading.

“If we’ve done anything it is to spark this love that we have as Canadians for aspen trees. It’s starting to show,” he said. “When people hear we have rules that require us to spray and kill these aspen trees, they think it’s crazy.”