Step closer to pesticide free
Stratford gives first reading to pesticide ban for commercial operators
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.