July 17, 2015 - 9:40 AM
KAMLOOPS – Local lawn care businesses, directly affected by the new city pesticide ban, question the process which led to Kamloops city council’s decision.
The City of Kamloops issued a ban on cosmetic pesticide use on Tuesday, July 14. As of January 1, 2016, pesticide use is no longer permitted on residential lawns, flower beds or ornamental shrubs.
The ban, however, does not limit the usage on municipal or commercial land, nor the sale of product by retailers.
Terry Ormrod of Nutri-Lawn questions why such an important issue was not brought to public hearing.
“What does (city council) know about weeds? What do they know about IPM (integrated pest management)?," Ormrod says, adding he is a qualified, trained professional with 30 years of experience in the field.
He says himself and Jacquie Doherty of Grassroots Choice Lawn Care had ten minutes combined to speak to council during the delegations portion of the meeting, hardly, he feels, enough time to get their point across.
Ormrod says there was more discussion in council this past Tuesday – the day the pesticide motion was voted on – than there had been since the debate began.
“Each councillor had eight to ten minutes to speak to council… with no real understanding by anyone.”
Ormrod says a public hearing would have “cleared up a lot of the confusion.”
Doherty echoes her colleague’s sentiments. She says had the debate not been tabled, there would have been one week from the time the motion was announced to when it was voted on. In that scenario, she would not have had the opportunity to speak to council.
“This is a sneaky way for council to do this. There was no discussion of this at all. They didn't even let us know this was coming down,” Doherty says.
She believes council had an agenda and regardless how the public felt, they were going to push it through. Doherty calls out Coun. Arjun Singh specifically saying he knew full well how he would vote on the ban, and was not undecided on the issue as he claimed.
Coun. Singh says he approached the debate as he approaches every item in council.
“My thought process led me back to the same conclusion. I was leaning towards a ban, but wanted to keep an open mind,” he says.
Singh says he has received as many emails supporting his decision as he has condemning it.
The city’s corporate officer Cindy Kennedy says the necessity of public hearings only applies to an official community plan or zoning bylaws. She says an official community plan decides matters of transportation, utilities, land use, recreation and housing.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015