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Rural Enderby residents oppose sting of mosquito control

Residents and property owners confident they’ve surpassed opposition target in Alternate Approval plan
Residents say they have surpassed the total number of opposition votes needed to quash a mosquito control bylaw. (File photo)

The buzz among some rural Enderby residents is they feel they’ve squashed a Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) mosquito control service bylaw.

The RDNO, at its November board meeting, unanimously passed using the Alternate Approval Process (AAP) for the bylaw, meaning 10 per cent of eligible voters in Electoral Area F Rural Enderby had to be against the bylaw to defeat it, and let the RDNO know by a deadline of Monday, Dec. 18, at 4 p.m.

The bylaw was created to set up a service to control mosquito larval habitats within specific areas of the Shuswap River floodplain to prevent the spread of the pesky insects.

The RDNO estimated eligible voters in the area at 3,871, so 388 votes against would be needed to defeat the bylaw before it’s adopted.

Less than a week before the deadline on Tuesday, Dec. 12, former RDNO Area F director Earl Shipmaker said 500 people have said no to the proposed plan.

Shipmaker has been serving as the focal point for the collection of Electoral Response Forms for the AAP.

“We feel confident we have defeated the bylaw,” said Shipmaker, who served 21 years as director.

RDNO is requesting $289,000 or $0.17 per 1,000 of net taxable land and improvements in the service area. Based on an average residential assessment of approximately $591,000 in 2023, the average residential tax impact would be $99.95 per year, starting in 2024.

Shipmaker said residents in opposition have a couple of big concerns.

“People are objecting, first, to the proposed control area, the floodplain of the Shuswap River. That includes less than half the population of Area F, and only half of the bad mosquito areas, but they (RDNO) are expecting all of those people outside the control area to pay for it,” he said.

“A third of the population is concerned about interrupting the food chain. Well, the science behind it says it won’t impact the food chain which suggests it’s so ineffective it won’t hurt the food chain.”

Current Area F director Allysa Hopkins explained to her colleagues at the November meeting that the proposed bylaw was a community-led initiative, and that “the nuisance mosquitoes have been affecting our area.”

“It’s impacted multiple sectors, including agriculture with farmers not able to keep workers on their fields,” said Hopkins. “It’s affected tourism, with bed and breakfasts having to refund guests, and it’s affected the general lifestyle. People have not been able to spend time outside.”

In a letter to Black Press dated Dec. 7, Hopkins said the topic of mosquito control has been one of the key priorities since she was elected in 2022.

The proposed areas to be treated, she said, experience seasonal flooding and standing water, particularly near the Shuswap River and the communities of Grindrod, Mara, Ashton Creek and Kingfisher.

“These areas have been identified as they appear to be prime mosquito development habitats,” said Hopkins.

Her words were echoed by Jeff Robinson who, in a letter to Black Press, described himself as an “itchy resident of Area F.”

“Be fair to all and educate yourself. As for the issue of a proposed increase of taxation, I know what we spend on various other methods to try and keep the little bloodsuckers at bay, and I’ll gladly pay,” said Robinson.

Consultation has also been part of the debate.

Mara resident Peter Vander Sar said there has been no consultation with constituents and no communication on the subject by Hopkins, despite, he said, repeated requests. Shipmaker said there had been no consultation since after a mosquito control study was done in September, and he, too, said he hasn’t heard back from Hopkins.

The director said an information session at Mara Community Hall drew more than 50 people, plus she had received “lots of emails and requests in support of the bylaw.” Hopkins also said the meeting was published locally and shared on all RDNO social media platforms.

Robinson confirmed the meeting in his letter.

If you are opposed to the adoption of the mosquito service control establishment bylaw, you can sign and submit an Elector Response Form (at if you qualify as an elector of the participating service area.

All Elector Response Forms must be received in the office of the RDNO no later than the deadline of 4 p.m., Monday, Dec. 18.

If you are submitting your form by mail be advised that postmarks will not be accepted as the date of submission.

Submissions can be sent to: RDNO, 9848 Aberdeen Rd., Coldstream, B.C. V1B 2K9; Email:; Fax: 250-550-3701.

If you’re not opposed, you don’t have to do anything.

Eligible people include those who live in Area F or who own property in the area. You can only submit one form.

The bylaw will be on the agenda at the next RDNO board meeting Wednesday, Dec. 20.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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