City backs out of pes­ti­cide ban

Coun­cil votes to send is­sue back to province

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - THE GUARDIAN

In a melee of amend­ments, mo­tions and pol­i­tics, Char­lot­te­town is wash­ing its hands of deal­ing with pes­ti­cides.

City coun­cil voted to kill its pes­ti­cide by­law dur­ing its monthly meet­ing Mon­day at City Hall.

This was a by­law that got unan­i­mous ap­proval from all coun­cil­lors for first read­ing on May 11 this year.

In June, the chair of the en­vi­ron­ment and sus­tain­abil­ity com­mit­tee, Coun­cil­lor Bob Do­iron tried to stop the by­law go­ing to sec­ond read­ing.

Mayor Clifford Lee stopped that ef­fort by send­ing the whole is­sue back to coun­cil for a meet­ing be­hind closed doors.

The pow­ers to ban was re­quested by the pre­vi­ous Char­lot­te­town coun­cil last Septem­ber and fi­nally granted by the pre­vi­ous pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment last Novem­ber. They are too lim­ited, said Do­iron.

“It doesn’t ban golf cour­ses, it doesn’t ban farms and it doesn’t ban the av­er­age per­son go­ing to Home De­pot or Cana­dian Tire and buy­ing their pes­ti­cides and spray­ing,” Do­iron said fol­low­ing the June meet­ing.

Do­iron sees this as a big is­sue, an im­por­tant is­sue that is just too big for one mu­nic­i­pal­ity. He wants a broader ban that ap­plies all over P.E.I. with the mus­cle to en­force it.

He re­searched other places in Canada and found that lo­cal bans of­ten re­sult in con­fu­sion, then the province steps in, as hap­pened in B.C.

“Let’s by­pass the con­fu­sion, the cost, the con­cern, ev­ery­thing, and get one for the whole province,” he said Mon­day.

Do­iron is in the thick of a com­pli­cated file. His com­mit­tee is com­posed of Coun­cil­lors Ed­ward Rice and Jason Coady.

Some city coun­cil­lors, like Coun. Mitchell Tweel, asked Do­iron to put in what be­came known as the in­fes­ta­tion clause, al­low­ing stronger pes­ti­cides if needed.

So Do­iron did just that, with­out the agree­ment of Rice or Coady. That by­law got unan­i­mous sup­port at the May coun­cil meet­ing.

“That got it on the floor, but on the floor, things can change,” said Do­iron Mon­day.

At Mon­day’s meet­ing Rice moved to take out the in­fes­ta­tion clause. That was de­feated. Then Rice tried to get the Char­lot­te­town clause to mimic ex­actly the Town of Stratford’s in­fes­ta­tion clause. That too was de­feated. Fi­nally, in a show of sup­port for Do­iron’s po­si­tion, the whole by­law was de­feated by a vote of six to three.

Then Do­iron’s fi­nal mo­tion of the meet­ing to ask the province to take over the pes­ti­cide file was passed in a closer vote of five to four. Vot­ing against that idea were Rice, Coady, Deputy Mayor Mike Duffy and Coun. Mitchell Tweel.

“You have to rule on the side of cau­tion and there have been enough can­cer in­stances here to say, yes, we have to look at ev­ery pos­si­ble means of con­trol­ling it,” said Rice af­ter the meet­ing.

“I’m re­ally dis­ap­pointed, to say the least,” said Mayor Clifford Lee.

A pes­ti­cide ban was a ma­jor fea­ture of his re-elec­tion bid in Novem­ber last year.

NIGEL ARMSTRONG/THE GUARDIAN

Couns. Melissa Hil­ton and Terry Bernard lis­ten to pro­ceed­ings at the July monthly meet­ing of Char­lot­te­town City Coun­cil. The coun­cil ended up do­ing an about face as it de­feated a pes­ti­cide by­law it had first sup­ported at its May meet­ing.

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