Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cosmetic Pesticide Use

A special meeting of the Community Development Committee (CDC) of Burlington Council will be held this Tuesday.

The lone agenda item will be a look at restricting the cosmetic use of pesticides.

Procedural tomfoolery at last week’s CDC saw staff sent away to check on whether Council has already dealt with the matter this year (they hadn’t) and to revise their report.

The new report takes out the recommendation that actually authorizes staff to proceed with developing a by-law. (Certainly wouldn’t want staff dashing off headlong and doing something that two-dozen municipalities in Ontario have already done.) A final Council approved recommendation could change this.

An Old Issue But Some New Views

Burlington Council has dealt with this one before. In fact, four of the current group of seven approved some outreach and an awareness campaign in 2002. Pressure from the professional lawn spraying lobby and lack of support from the head Halton health honcho, Dr. Bob Nosal, has meant nothing has happened since then.

However, the good doctor has changed his mind. He writes:

“…Given the limitations of current provincial and federal regulations, the Medical Officer of Health supports initiatives and measures taken by municipalities to reduce the use of pesticides for lawn care including by-laws that restrict pesticide use on private property.”

Watch what you drink

Nineteen year Council veteran, John Taylor, believes “there is no proven causal relationship between pesticides and disease when pesticides are properly used.”

According to Taylor, council’s only known chemist, it is “just a case of dosage and exposure.” Taylor notes that there are even two documented cases of drinking excessive amounts of pure water leading to death. I doubt that Taylor will be swayed by arguments from the delegations this week.

Councillor Rick Craven might though. His vote to support moving to a by-law will leave Cam Jackson to break a three-three deadlock.

Here’s hoping that the Mayor sees his way to supporting a by-law without the need for excessive and costly consultation.

With our increased awareness of the damage we are doing to our environment this really shouldn’t be this difficult.