Enforcement of the Weeds Act along highways in the province continues to be limited by provincial budget constraints. The proactive approach planned by the Ministry of Transportation has been put on hold and ASBs are not likely to see a blanket plan like the Integrated Vegetation Management Plan agreed on for 2017 to 2019. For now the ministry is focusing on improving communication and relationships to put the limited dollars available to their best use.
It is important to know that vegetation management activities are not included in lump sum part of the Maintenance Contracts, but rather are prompted by ministry issued work orders and funded per order. What this means is that a highway maintenance contractor will need to receive a work order from the ministry before they look after weed or mowing concerns. ASB staff are requested to connect with the Regional or District Ministry of Transportation offices to discuss concerns and request work orders. A map of the districts is available in pdf form to help clarify which office to contact.
Be assured that the Ministry of Transportation operational staff do understand the responsibilities under the Weed Control Act and will work with municipalities to address issues along highways. Public safety of course has to be priority in terms of time and budget, so each situation will need to be assessed and prioritized based on available funds and risk to public welfare.
On September 1, 2020 the ASB Provincial Committee met with Deputy Minister Rae-Ann Lajeunesse and Assistant Deputy Minister Tom Loo from the Ministry of Transportation to discuss the conclusion of the 2017-2019 Integrated Vegetation Management plan, and the possibility of creating another 3 year plan. The DM was very positive with a willingness to improve communications and coordinate management approaches at the local level. Regional and District Operational staff were encouraged to attend regional ASB conferences to answer questions and facilitate relationship.