City backs out of pesticide ban
Council votes to send issue back to province
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.
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.