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Kamloops looking to expand pesticide ban to city parks

FILE PHOTO - Families take advantage of the record-breaking weather to enjoy Riverside Park Friday, March 27, 2015.
December 10, 2015 - 1:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - After passing a new bylaw banning the residential cosmetic use of pesticides, council will decide whether to take the bylaw one step further and ban the same use on city land.

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, council will debate banning the cosmetic use of pesticides on municipal property, including parks like Riverside.

A residential ban on cosmetic shrubs, flower beds and lawns will be implemented Jan. 1, 2016.

The city uses pesticides like Roundup only "here or there," parks director Byron McCorkell says favouring instead an integrated pest management system which alternates the use and quantity of pesticides with other methods like vinegar or releasing small bugs that eat certain weeds or grasses. He says he is not concerned about council’s proposed changes.

“We have used some chemical products in our flower gardens, in the rose garden for instance, and in our shrub beds in order to control weeds. We’ll stop doing that,” he says.

McCorkell says his department has not used any pesticides on turf in Riverside Park and only Roundup on the pathways; something homeowners are still allowed even when the residential bylaw is implemented.

“If (city council) want to go further, that’s where it gets muddy,” McCorkell says. He explains if council asks for the elimination of all schedule B pesticide products like Roundup or Killex altogether this might actually be impossible.

“Our department will never not be in the world of pesticides because by law we have to look after noxious weeds,” McCorkell says, adding while the city has experimented with goats and various other alternative methods, if noxious weeds become a big enough threat there are very few alternatives to pesticides.

McCorkell also says pesticides are very important in the maintenance of sports fields. While this has not been brought forward in council, he does not think a pesticide ban should include sports fields because, “in our mind a sports field is not like a residence.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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