CAN (BC): Nursery shut down due to phytophthora ramorum

On Friday, June 21, Island View Nursery underwent a randomly selected inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for Phytophthora ramorum (an airborne spore-producing plant pathogen that is transmitted through wind, animals, soil and water that may impact certain host-type plants). "This national survey was broadened in the last year to include all nursery types (even those that do not propagate and import/export plants) to ensure the protection of trade with our bordering trading partner", Island View Nursery shared on Facebook.

"Nurseries like ours with pride in our facilities that ensure the practices of weed and pest controls among other regulatory means can be subject to this airborne pathogen by no fault of their own and there is no cure. However, the CFIA has full rights to order the destruction of a business’ entire stock.

"This plant pathogen is not a construct of nurseries themselves, nor is it a product of any type of negligence, wrongdoing, or malpractice and can occur despite even the most exceptional plant care, certification, and best facility cleanliness and standards. We feel it is grossly unreasonable for nurseries to not only be subject to this level of protocol severity, but to then receive no compensation thereafter."

Once results are received in the next week or two, if one of the nursery's plants tests positive, the company will be subject to the protocols that follow. This includes at least 90 days site quarantine on all host-type plant varieties such as Rhododendron sp., Pieris sp., Viburnum sp. etc. (making up over 70% of the nursery's stock) regardless if these plants are healthy.

"If this were to occur, during this time we would not be able to sell or release product. Therefore, we have made the decision to close the nursery during this time as to avoid having to subject our customers to follow rigorous bio-security measures that the CFIA enforces. We would then be ordered to undergo product destruction via burning of all plants, healthy or not, in a ripple effect based on proximity to any positive product(s). There is no longer any compensation and no such insurance exists for such losses, so the scale of destruction may impact the future of the operation of our family business", the company further stated.

They also asked to contact the CFIA directly to share your grievances and to demand radical protocol changes that are less severe towards nursery businesses. "Please also contact your local Government representatives to fight for compensation and/or Elizabeth May’s office as this office is aware of the situation.

"Please stress that severe protocol that destroys nurseries over an issue that is in no way a fault of their own is not only unreasonable and damaging to an entire industry (locally and beyond), it is grossly ineffective overall. Burning portions or entire stocks every few years clearly has not worked to eradicate this airborne pathogen. It is still out in the elements, and this needs to be addressed and handled differently moving forward."

For more information:
Island View Nursery
2933 McIntyre Road
Saanichton BC V8M 1W3
T: (250) 544-4802
F: (250) 544-4806

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