Courtenay council received a presentation about a GE (genetically engineered) Free Procurement Policy from Arzeena Hamir of Amara Farm.
The crop scientist says GE technologies are not precise and that outcomes are unpredictable.
The only genetically modified crops grown in Canada are corn, soy, sugar beet and canola. A GE apple is on the way. Imported GM crops include dairy products, squash, papaya and cottonseed oil.
“My concern is at a DNA level,” said Hamir, who questions how we attest for something unknown.
She believes a procurement policy would tie in with the ‘Buy Local’ concept and act as an economic driver in the Valley, which she notes is “increasingly health conscious.”
Hamir hopes council will encourage farmers to abstain from cultivating GE crops.
Mayor Larry Jangula notes the “emotional topic” is a federal and provincial matter.
•Council approved a staff recommendation to maintain the RCMP’s established strength at 30.4 members for the 2015/16 contract year. The budget expenditure cap is just shy of $5.5 million, of which Courtenay is responsible for 90 per cent or $4,944,226. The federal government kicks in the other 10 per cent.
The City funds two officers from gaming revenues, two from traffic fine revenues and 26.4 members from property taxes.
•Council adopted a bylaw to approve a 3.18 per cent property tax increase.