Step closer to pes­ti­cide free

Stratford gives first read­ing to pes­ti­cide ban for com­mer­cial op­er­a­tors

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY NIGEL ARMSTRONG

Stratford has taken its fi­nal steps to­wards a pes­ti­cide by­law af­fect­ing lawn care com­pa­nies but one coun­cil­lor is to­tally op­posed.

First read­ing was given Wed­nes­day to a new pes­ti­cide by­law that has seen years of de­vel­op­ment and public con­sul­ta­tion.

The by­law was on the agenda of the reg­u­lar monthly meet­ing of coun­cil at town hall.

Next month the by­law will get sec­ond, then third and fi­nal read­ing.

A hand­ful of sup­port­ers were on hand.

“I’m re­ally pleased,” said Mau­reen Kerr, res­i­dent of Stratford. “I just want to stop see­ing signs on peo­ple’s lawns and have to worry about my kids walk­ing by it or my dog com­ing across the lawn.”

The province re­cently gave towns only the abil­ity to con­trol com­mer­cial pes­ti­cide com­pa­nies. Prod­ucts now banned to them un­der this by­law can still be pur­chased by in­di­vid­ual home­own­ers at lo­cal hard­ware stores.

“We will hope­fully be talk­ing with them to see if they will have a work­shop and of­fer al­ter­na­tives and not sell Roundup,” said Kerr, of one pes­ti­cide still avail­able to in­di­vid­u­als at lo­cal stores.

The by­law has a list of ap­proved sprays that com­pa­nies can still use, a list con­sid­ered safer than in­or­ganic pes­ti­cides.

There is an op­tion to ap­ply stronger pes­ti­cides if a prop­erty has an in­fes­ta­tion of hairy chinch bugs, white grubs, sod web­worms or Euro­pean crane flies.

The com­mer­cial ap­pli­ca­tor must de­ter­mine the de­gree of in­fes­ta­tion and town staff will in­spect the site to con­firm.

Coun. Randy Cooper was the only vote against the pes­ti­cide ban

“It’s not based on science,” said Cooper af­ter the meet­ing. “Peo­ple have made the de­ci­sion based on emo­tion.

“There are stacks of pa­per on both sides of the ar­gu­ment and its in­con­clu­sive.”

Cooper says lawn-care com­pa­nies are op­er­at­ing pro­fes­sion­ally and safely.

“The chem­i­cals they are us­ing are very harsh chem­i­cals, but the amounts are very lit­tle,” said Cooper.

To al­low the by­law to pro­ceed de­spite the lack of con­clu­sive science, the town passed a Dec­la­ra­tion of Citizen Rights and Re­spon­si­bil­i­ties just mo­ments be­fore.

A key el­e­ment of that res­o­lu­tion was the adop­tion of a pre­cau­tion­ary prin­ci­ple.

“The lack of any full sci­en­tific cer­tainty is not viewed as suf­fi­cient rea­son for the town to post­pone such mea­sures,” says the res­o­lu­tion re­gard­ing pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment or the health of res­i­dents.

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