July 13, 2015 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS – The notion of a Kamloops-wide ban on cosmetic pesticide use is back on the city’s agenda this week.
Tabled on June 2, the debate has seen lobbying from both sides of the aisle via the media, city council delegations and online petitions.
First introduced as a motion by Coun. Tina Lange about six weeks ago, council and staff have gathered more information and are set to discuss the motion Tuesday, July 14.
In the six weeks since the item was tabled, the parks department has been collecting information in order for council while residents and organizations have been taking a stand for or against the idea.
Stopping short of making a recommendation, the parks department says there will be a financial burden if pesticides are no longer allowed, especially in the maintenance of sports fields.
While the city uses alternative methods of pest control and chemicals are only used as a last resort, it estimates the alternatives would cost roughly $70,000 more to maintain sports fields. If turf needs to be replaced due to an overgrowth of weeds, the parks department estimates $100,000 per field. Staff believe the ‘Tournament Capital’ cannot present less than perfect sports fields.
When it comes to bylaw enforcement, the department believes there may be an extra strain on officers if a ban is put in place. Not only are these pesticide calls demanding of their time, but it is difficult and laborious to determine what chemical was used. The parks department recommended increased education in order to change public behaviour voluntarily.
Terry Ormrod of Nutri-Lawn and Jacquie Doherty of Grassroots Choice Lawn Care previously presented to council to plead their case as small business owners. Their main point was they are professionals and the ban would only force pesticide use into the hands of untrained homeowners with potentially dangerous results.
The Kamloops North Shore Business Improvement Association supported Doherty, Ormrod and local businesses like theirs in an open letter earlier this month. The association poked holes in the pesticide ban logic, noting while the city can regulate the use of pesticides, they cannot regulate the purchase of pesticides.
At Tuesday's council meeting three delegations are scheduled to speak about the pesticide ban: two for the ban and one against. The speakers include a physician and environmentalist, a retired university professor and a master gardener with the Thompson Shuswap Master Gardeners Association.
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