Munipal Pesticide Debates

Various discussions related to Chemical Pesticides, Herbicides, Etc.

Surrey tables pesticide bylaw

Postby adminjt » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:37 pm

April 13, 2010

Surrey North Delta Leader

Surrey tables pesticide bylaw

By Kevin Diakiw - Surrey North Delta Leader

After years of lobbying by environmental groups, Surrey has endorsed a pesticide bylaw.

Except in rare circumstances, chemicals used to control pests – either plant, fungus, insect or animal – will be restricted in this city, as Surrey gave early approval to a pesticide bylaw Monday night.

The first three readings of the bylaw passed, with only Coun. Marvin Hunt opposed.

The bylaw comes after years of pressure from several groups.

Three years ago, a group called the Surrey and White Rock Pesticide-free Coalition began putting pressure on this city to give up the cosmetic (aesthetic) use of pesticides.

A year later, six students from Kwantlen Polytechnic University schooled Surrey council on the perils of pesticides.

They were armed with polls showing 74 per cent of residents approve of a ban on cosmetic use. They also carried with them an 1,133-name petition calling for the legislation.

Council was reluctant to act, as city staff indicated it would cost almost $1 million annually to manually control weeds.

Last year, the city’s own Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) delivered a stinging rebuke of Surrey’s inaction on pesticides.

“Surrey is one of the last municipalities in the Lower Mainland without such a regulation,” EAC chair Al Schultze told council in June. “I would say the city is a laggard, not a leader in this regard.”

In fact, 29 communities in B.C. have instituted such regulations, with 12 of those cities in the Lower Mainland.

White Rock has legislation in place and Delta introduced a bylaw last November. It takes effect this fall.

The impacts on the environment are far-reaching, according to several recent studies conducted globally.

A study released last year examined several rivers, including a stretch of South Surrey’s Nicomekl River, testing for pesticides.

When exposed to similar levels in the lab, salmonids, including trout, lost their sense of smell, which they use to differentiate predators from their own young and for imprinting a river so they can return for spawning.

In March, India was attributing the loss of dolphins to pesticide use and a study out of California attributed massive bee loss to pesticides.

Surrey Coun. Bob Bose said it’s children that are most affected by the harsh chemicals being thrown into the environment, and the time for foot dragging on the issue has long passed.

“We’ve got to deal with this,” Bose said.

Mayor Dianne Watts agreed.

“We need to be moving forward with a bylaw,” Watts said, adding the legislation would curb both the use of pesticides by the public on private land and city staff on Surrey-owned properties.

The bylaw provides exemptions for situations where Surrey doesn’t have the regulatory authority. The exemptions include:

Agriculture and forestry operations; controlling noxious needs (as defined under the Weed Act); controlling pests in or on buildings, structures and hard landscaping; managing outbreaks of introduced invasive exotic or foreign pests; managing pests that threaten sensitive ecosystems; purifying water used for human or animal consumption; and responding to human or animal health issues.

The legislation is expected to return for final approval on May 3.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and Coun. Bob Bose.
Leader file photos

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Stop spraying lawn chemicals, companies told

Postby adminjt » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:38 pm

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stop spraying lawn chemicals, companies told

CBC News

The idea that all dandelions are bad needs to change, says Tukey.The idea that all dandelions are bad needs to change, says Tukey. (CBC)

Some Prince Edward Islanders received a lesson in organic lawn care this week as a ban on using some pesticides on lawns came into effect.

Author and filmmaker Paul Tukey used to work in the lawn care industry, but gave it up when his health began to fail.

"Initially it was blurred vision, and then it sort of escalated into other symptoms, like headaches and nausea, just rashes that I couldn't explain, a whole range of symptoms initially," Tukey told CBC News Monday.

"Then the doctor again took my bloodwork and attributed it to the chemicals."

Tukey put down the shovels, sprayers and mowers to become a full-time crusader against cosmetic pesticides. He's the author of a book and producer of a documentary film about Hudson, Quebec, the first place in North America to ban lawn pesticides.

Many more places have banned lawn chemicals since then, and P.E.I. is the latest, with its legislation banning some cosmetic pesticides coming into effect on April 1.
Paul Tukey gave up the lawn care business when his health began to suffer.Paul Tukey gave up the lawn care business when his health began to suffer. (CBC)

Tukey was on the Island this week giving a number of presentations — to the public, local lawn care companies, and golf course maintenance people — about organic care of lawns.

Marjorie Toews was one of 80 people who went to the public talk Saturday.

"Well some of the neighbours have used pesticide," said Toews.

"It was very disturbing to us, very obnoxious. The smell would blow up into our houses."

Tukey told Islanders that going organic yields better results than some homeowners expect, but he also said expectations need to change.

"The cultural malaise that exists that believes all dandelions are evil, dandelions are bad. That needs to change," he said.

"I can tell you that in Hudson, Quebec, where they haven't had pesticides for 20 years, if you don't have dandelions on your lawn your neighbours look at you like you must be cheating: going down to the United States, buying the illegal stuff."

Tukey has Toews convinced to go organic. She said she doesn't know what her lawn will look like at the end of the year, but she is hopeful.

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St. John's council to discourage pesticide use

Postby adminjt » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:39 pm

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CBC News

St. John's council to discourage pesticide use

City coun. Sheilagh O'Leary spoke at St. John's City Hall Monday. (CBC)

The city of St. John's will ask residents not to use cosmetic pesticides on their lawns this summer, since an outright ban would have to come from the province.

Coun. Sheilagh O'Leary proposed a motion at Monday's council meeting calling on the City of St. John's to issue a recommendation encouraging residents to refrain from using cosmetic pesticides.

"This advisory would continue until the provincial government enacts legislation banning cosmetic pesticide use in the entire province or until the provincial government gives municipalities the authority under the municipalities act, to enact their own regulations regarding pesticide use," O'Leary said.

While the Newfoundland and Labrador government has the power to ban pesticide use, municipalities, such as St. John's, don't.

O'Leary said Monday that the province hasn't responded to council's repeated requests to ban pesticides.

All councillors supported O'Leary's motion to issue a pesticides advisory — except Coun. Wally Collins, whose Ward 5 district covers much of the city's south.

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City of St. John's
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Pesticide ban bylaw exemption denied by Nanaimo city council

Postby adminjt » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:40 pm

April 13, 2010

Nanaimo Daily News

Pesticide ban bylaw exemption denied by Nanaimo city council

By Derek Spalding, Daily News

Nanaimo city council members inched closer to creating a cosmetic pesticide ban that discourages everyone from using chemicals for beautifying their property.

The politicians ignored a recommendation from senior staff that asked for an exemption to the bylaw, which would have allowed certified pest applicators and the city's parks department to use pesticides as a last resort.

The bylaw could be approved in coming weeks once staff prepares how it will be implemented in April 2011.

The new ban will be accompanied by a public education campaign that will include workshops, advertisements and public meetings during the next year.

The exemption for licensed pesticide users would have allowed the city's employees to use controlled chemicals on areas such as playing fields.

Several years ago, record snowfalls left a mold on Nanaimo playing fields that came close to destroying them, said planning director Andrew Tucker. Staff used all alternatives before using a chemical pesticide to save the fields.

Several residents were at Monday's council meeting urging politicians to implement a stronger bylaw.

"This is an opportunity for the city to demonstrate leadership," said Joan Wagner, a member of the city's environment committee.

"If you eliminate this option, then you force people to conduct more creative thinking. People will have to look around to see what other resources we have."

City staff compared similar bylaws from 10 other cities. Eight of those had exemptions, Tucker explained.


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Nanaimo Pesticide Bylaw - YouTube Video

ANewsVanIsland — April 12, 2010 — NANAIMO - If you love keeping your lawn looking like a golf green, you may have to work a little harder.

Nanaimo city council is voting on a new bylaw to ban pesticides. But some people say the bylaw does not go far enough.

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Re: Pesticides banned in City of Fernie - from 2011

Postby adminjt » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:58 pm

April 4, 2010

Fernie Free Press

Chemical-free tips

Re: Pesticides banned in City of Fernie - from 2011

I am a homeowner who didn't use any herbicides long before our Ontario ban went into effect and here are my tips for successful non-chemical lawn care.

First of all, it is important to make sure that grass is not cut too short - not less than three inches. Do not remove the grass clippings - they add nitrogen.

It is a good idea to scatter some seeds of white (Dutch) clover on the lawn, as this supplies some nitrogen and moisture to the turf. Clover seeds used to be included routinely in grass seed, but the practice was unfortunately discontinued.

Dutch clover is not a weed and in fact assists us in keeping the turf healthy and weed free. I use compost made in my backyard as a fertilizer, applying small quantities in the spring and fall.

Lawns should be also top-dressed with topsoil and over seeded periodically. A tight grass keeps the weeds out!

The application of pesticides has resulted in the absence of beneficial organisms in the soil and the aim is have them come back. There may be a need to pull out some weeds initially, but with time and well maintained turf most of the weeds ought to be permanently eliminated.

K. Jean Cottam

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April 4,2010

Fernie Free Press

Yellow is the new green

It’s that time of year again where the grass gets green and the flowers grow. Spring, the time when we all look forward to creating the perfect lawn, but there is one small problem that keeps popping up, Dandelions.

Dandelions, what exactly are they and where did they come from? Well, dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) which derive from the Asteraceae Family were brought over from Europe making them an introduced species. Introduced species have no natural predators which make control of them very hard.

Dandelions are classified as only a nuisance weed under the Weed Control Act because they pose little threat to natural species. Now the problem with nuisance weeds is that it is difficult and not worth the cost to remove them.

Dandelions are a special weed with a basal root that will send out a signal to activate other seeds causing more dandelions to grow. Hard to believe? Have you ever noticed the lawn next to you that hasn’t been treated with herbicides? I am sure you have because you most likely blame their seeds for causing the few that grow in your yard. I am sorry to say that you are really the one who is causing so many in their yards. It’s a vicious cycle.

Herbicides are a poison that affect everyone. They can run off lawns on to sidewalks where our pets walk, and into our drainage systems ending up in our rivers and lakes.

Our kids can play in someone’s lawn not knowing better contracting it through their skin.

Herbicides can leach through the soil to where our water pipes are and possibly get into our water system. We also have the misfortune of breathing the toxins in.

Are these not good enough reason alone to not use them any more?

Paige Davis,
Environmental Assessment and Restoration student,
Lethbridge Community College

© Copyright 2010, Fernie Free Press ... -new-green


March 28, 2010

Fernie Free Press

EcoGarden offers pesticide-free alternatives

At the Fernie EcoGarden, pesticides, herbicides and other non-organic forms of fertilizer are not used.

We pride ourselves in providing an environment to the public that is free of man-made chemicals.

While there is conflicting research about the possible effects of pesticide use, even the remotest risk to our health and the environment is not one that we at the EcoGarden are willing to test and expose the public to.

There are affordable and effective alternatives that accomplish the same things that pesticides do, but without the potentially harmful chemicals.xxxxHere are some easy alternatives that will allow the residents of the City of Fernie to enjoy their lawns and gardens for years to come with less effort.

• Use low maintenance rye or fine fescue grass seeds instead of water sucking kentucky bluegrass.

• Overseeding helps keep the weeds at bay by crowding them out.

• Replace both front and backyard lawns with native perennial gardens and/or productive vegetable and herb plots. Native plants thrive in our climate and do not require special feeding or watering. Groundcovers such as native yarrow make an excellent alternative to a non-native grass lawn.

• Cut your lawn with your mower set at its highest setting (2.5 – 3”) - this tactic helps choke out the weeds.

• Leave grass clippings on the lawn – the clippings break down valuable nitrogen and make it harder for weeds to grow.

• Applying weed-free mulch, crop rotation, and planting beneficials help deter pests naturally.

• Erecting a bat house on your property will significantly control the mosquitoes and other insect populations. Birds also eat bugs so plant native berries to draw them to your yard.

With so many effective and easy alternatives, there is no need for pesticides. Please choose healthy, organic options when caring for your lawn.

Helen McAllister, Mary Cosman, Dawn Deydey and Jennifer Heath
Fernie EcoGarden Advisory Committee

© Copyright 2010, Fernie Free Press

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Making switch from front lawns to front gardens

Postby adminjt » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:10 pm

3 Apr 2010

The Sarnia Observer

Making switch from front lawns to front gardens

More than 200 local gardening and wildlife enthusiasts gathered to hear Liz Primeau’s presentation earlier this week. With the aid of photos, Primeau gave an inspiring speech on transforming front lawns into front gardens.

Primeau is former editor of Canadian Gardening magazine and a well-known gardener and author of several books.

Just a few minutes into Primeau’s presentation and I discovered that she shared the same frustration as I - that we Canadians are fixated on grass. For some reason, we adore the monoculture of grass. Primeau claims that Canadian homeowners collectively own 24 million acres of grass. And that does not include public parks or cemeteries.

Primeau attributes our grass obsession to wealthy kings and lords of a few centuries ago. At that time, if the average citizen had a front lawn, it would be filled with vegetables. Only the wealthy could afford grass and the crew of gardeners who manually snipped the grass.

After the Second World War, there were two developments that made lawns more achievable for the average homeowner - the introduction of pesticides and herbicides, and the invention of motorized lawn mowers.

Primeau made a strong case for doing away with grass, opting instead for a diversity of plants. The result is a front lawn that is more attractive, easier to care for and friendlier for the environment. She went on to say that bio diverse gardens made up of perennials and shrubs is less prone to insects because the resulting birds, bees and butterflies keep insects under control.

To illustrate her points, Primeau brought a projector with photos of front yards that have made the switch from grass to plants and landscaping. Themes ranged from cottage style, low maintenance, small city, natural and private front yards.

Primeau demonstrated how the landscaping of her own front lawn began with hardscape improvements of a larger front porch and new curved walkway. The next phase involved removal of a big portion of the front grass area and replacing it with a variety of perennials. The decision to add more gardens was made easy a few years ago when white grubs destroyed the balance of her front yard grass. In addition to plants, Primeau showed how adding walkways, stepping stones, boulders, rock gardens and water features add interest to front yard landscaping. Accent features such as statuary, outdoor furniture, and other pieces of art add interest and serve to personalize the garden.

Lambton Wildlife gets credit for inviting this high-calibre speaker to Lambton County. Check out Lambton Wildlife’s website to view the lineup of future speakers and outdoor activities.

In March of 2011, Karen McKeown, horticulturist and City of Guelph healthy Landscape Technician will give another front yard garden presentation.

* If you have a gardening question or a specific topic you would like addressed, e-mail jdegroot@ degroots. ca.

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PoCo might ban cosmetic pesticides

Postby adminjt » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:25 pm

April 01, 2010

The Tri-City News
PoCo might ban cosmetic pesticides

By Gary McKenna - The Tri-City News

Cosmetic pesticide use on privately-owned property could soon be prohibited in the city of Port Coquitlam.

City staff are currently drafting a bylaw for council consideration that would see the products banned within the municipality. The city cites evidence the garden chemicals are harmful to humans and the environment as a reason for the regulations.

“We can do the best we can with education but my sense is there is going to have to be a bylaw to enforce what we are saying,” said Coun. Mike Forrest, chair of the city’s environmental enhancement committee. “It is the same old debate: How do you make it known that this is not good stuff? It does harm to the environment and potential harm to people.”

While the city will take the reins on the issue, Forrest said he believes it would be more efficient for the provincial government to pass legislation banning the products province wide.

Municipal bans are not as effective, he said, because they can not prohibit the sale of garden chemicals within the city boundary. Also, piecemeal regulations do little to protect shared watercourses if a neighbouring municipality does not adopt a similar bylaw.

The province began a public consultation process on the use of cosmetic pesticides but PoCo staff say there has been no indication as to when or if the government will bring forward legislation addressing the issue.

“We are still of the mind that it really needs to be a provincial thing,” Forrest said. “But because it isn’t forthcoming from the province we are going to produce some ideas about how we could proceed on our own.”

The Canadian Cancer Society has called on all levels of government to implement a ban, pointing to reports that say garden chemicals can cause a variety of cancers including leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate, brain and lung.

Ted Wingrove, president of the Hyde Creek Watershed Society, told Port Coquitlam councillors that while pesticides are meant to be used on people’s lawns, they often end up in local watercourses.

He has been a proponent of a city-wide ban pointing to studies done at SFU which show garden chemicals can disrupt a salmon’s ability to recognize the scent of their natal streams.

“There is mounting scientific evidence that chronic use of pesticides causes negative health effects in humans as well as fish,” he said in a letter to the city. “...Pesticides have the ability to kill fish, as well as impair their ability to swim, smell, reproduce and grow.”

Igor Zahynacz, the city’s director of engineering, said if the regulations are adopted by council, there would be a period of time before enforcement took effect. Both Zahynacz and Forrest said education would be a key component to any new regulations.

More than 140 municipalities across Canada have implemented some form of a cosmetic pesticide ban. Currently Port Moody is the only municipality in the Tri-Cities to ban the chemicals, however Port Coquitlam was one of the first municipalities in B.C. to restrict pesticide use on public land.

Coquitlam considered a bylaw last year but it failed to garner enough support on council, ultimately being defeated in a 4-4 tie vote (a tie vote defeats a motion).

Those opposed to the ban said the regulations would be difficult to enforce and that higher levels of government should be the ones responsible for banning the products.

Cosmetic pesticide use on privately-owned property could soon be prohibited in the city of Port Coquitlam.

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Re: Munipal Pesticide Debates .. Don't heed fearmongers

Postby adminjt » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:38 pm

April 1, 2010

The Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Don't heed fearmongers

Lorne Hepworth's letter, Pesticide ban unwarranted (SP, March 19), is merely another knee jerk reaction from a chemical company group solely interested in self-preservation and profit.

He contends pesticides have a "critical role in contributing to people's health and well-being by providing an abundant, varied and safe food supply."

This statement, and his entire letter, really have nothing to do with an urban ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides and does little to "set the record straight" about the misinformation he says exists on this issue.

The Ontario College of Family Physicians, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment all advocate for urban pesticide bans.

Ontario and Quebec have banned the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes and B.C. is expected to follow suit.

These measures have been well thought out, are completely supported by science and have been held up by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Is it time for Saskatoon and Regina to follow suit and not to react emotionally to the desperate fearmongering of the pesticide industry?

Jocelyn Orb
Board member
Sask. Environmental Society

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