KAMLOOPS – A motion to prohibit cosmetic pesticides drew a large crowd to council chambers this week, but council was not quite ready to have the discussion many residents seemed more than ready to start.
Residents packed council chambers yesterday, Tuesday, June 2, to voice their opinions regarding Coun. Tina Lange’s motion to further prohibit pesticides for residential use.
Lange hopes to change what is currently permitted when it comes to pesticide use. The bylaw currently allows for persons with recognized credentials to apply pesticides on residential property for cosmetic purposes but Lange's motion, if passed, will not allow for this.
Mayor Peter Milobar had to remind speakers to keep public enquiries civil, and that the 'podium is not a pulpit' and is for questions to council only. After multiple speakers, but before everyone had spoken, Milobar put a stop to the public enquiry portion of the meeting.
Lange is not surprised by the passionate response to her motion and says she received many phone calls and emails before the meeting, both for and against her motion.
A pesticide bylaw was top of the Urban Agriculture committee’s list of immediate actions. Lange, who sits on the committee, brought it forward as a stand-alone motion because it is easier to discuss on its own rather than as part of the entire urban agriculture and food plan.
“I see the people who (spray pesticides) for the professional companies, they’re not wearing hazmat suits, they’re not wearing masks,” she says, adding she believes professionals use a much more liberal technique of stronger solution to spray weeds than most homeowners do.
Corey Munegatto of Pronto Enterprises believes a lot of homeowners don't know how to use pesticides safely but says certified applicators do. He believes the bylaw is a bit of a nonstarter and is not enforceable.
“Anyone can go to the store and pick (pesticides) up as long as they’re not caught… the city does not have the staff, or bylaw officers, to go all over town an enforce this,” Munegatto says.
Jacquie Doherty, of Grassroots Choice Lawn Care, agrees with tabling the motion so more discussion on the issue can be had.
“Is this a debate on science or a debate of politics?” she asks.
Coun. Arjun Singh asked to table the motion for six weeks so council can gather more information and public input, and in the end the motion was tabled until July 14.
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