Weed Control in Highway and Railway Right-of-Ways

Res #: 9-09A
Number: 9
Year: 2009
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No

WHEREAS municipalities are working on identifying areas of infestation and controlling invasive and noxious weeds; and 

WHEREAS the railways and provincial highways are major routes for the transportation of alien and noxious weeds with many seeding themselves in these right-of-ways and spreading to adjacent lands; and 

WHEREAS in instances when the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure and the railway companies do not take a timely approach to weed control within highway and railway right-of-ways and the municipality is required to conduct weed control in the right of ways; and 

WHEREAS the approval process for the municipality to conduct work within these right of ways adds to delays and problems with acceptance of the invoice submissions unlike other properties within the municipality where the municipality can add the costs to the property taxes; 

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM enter negotiations with the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure and the rail companies to take a more timely approach to weed control in the right-of-ways and establish a mechanism for municipalities to recover the costs of weed inspection and control as it pertains to The Noxious Weed Act, 1984 and the Provincial highway and rail line right-of-ways. 

Response from Honourable D. Wayne Elhard, Minister of Highways and Infrastructure:

The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure employs an integrated weed control program with a combination of mechanical (mowing) and herbicidal (spraying) control methods.  The Ministry works closely with many rural municipalities to coordinate weed control efforts on highway right-of-ways, as part of the municipality’s overall weed control program.

The Ministry will pay 100 per cent of actual costs for this work if notified/advised by a registered weed inspector for the municipality and if evidence of an active weed control program is in place within the municipality.

In 2008-09, $500,000 was added to the provincial weed control budget to increase weed management efforts.  This funding was directed into noxious weed control through application of herbicides.  In 2009-10, the Ministry will be delivering an enhanced mowing program by increasing the frequency of cuts undertaken during the year and by increasing the volume of mowed area within our highway right-of-ways from 40,000 hectares to 60,000 hectares.  This will result in improved control for many of our target weed species by cutting during the vulnerable growth stage.