Mayor correct. Pesticide bylaws needs consistency
Stratford officials are taking poetic licence with the results of the fourth annual residents’ survey released this week. The town interprets the numbers to paint a generally positive picture with the direction being taken by the municipality. And it concludes that residents seem to be happy with the town’s position on the controversial topic of cosmetic pesticides.
That isn’t necessarily the case. In response to a survey question, 74 per cent are in favour of some sort of a ban or restriction. That doesn’t mean they are happy with what the town has done to date on the issue. The topic has been front and centre on the town’s radar for more than 12 years. After years of delays and false starts, it was only in the past several weeks that the town finally said that some sort of bylaw would take effect on Jan. 1, 2016. The delays have frustrated many pro-active residents in the town who have lobbied long and hard for action.
If the question were asked: ‘ Are residents happy with what the town has done to date on cosmetic pesticides?,’ the answers would surely be very critical. Only 12 per cent of residents responding don’t support a ban while 14 per cent didn’t know, didn’t answer or didn’t care. Public comments will be accepted until July 7 on what the new bylaw should contain.
Is Stratford Mayor David Dunphy serious when he says the idea is to enact a consistent bylaw that would set up rules similar to Charlottetown, Cornwall and Summerside? In Charlottetown, a bylaw was proposed, then amended, then embroiled in debate and at last word the city was hoping to unload the whole pesticide issue back onto the provincial government.
The problem is this: There is no consistency among the four largest municipalities on the Island and it’s remote there ever will be. The current provincial legislation only provides municipalities with the authority to regulate the use of non-domestic pesticides, by licensed applicators, for landscape pests only and not the authority to restrict or ban the use of domestic pesticides by homeowners directly. The whole issue remains a mess and while Mayor Dunphy is right in seeking consistency, going it alone isn’t the right path to follow.
The survey didn’t even bother to put the sewage lagoon on the survey. There would be 100 per cent agreement that the sewage odour is one of the biggest issues facing the town, so why bother stating the malodorously obvious?