Pesticide ban for Rossland back on the agenda

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
October 27th, 2010

The war on pesticides is ramping up again in Rossland and council will once again have the opportunity to enact some type of pesticide ban bylaw at their next council meeting on November 8th.


Just shy of nine months ago, following a presentation to council by the Canadian Cancer Society and Prevent Cancer Now, city staff gave council with three possible courses of action regarding a pesticide ban. In voting on the choices (A) instructing staff to develop a pesticide ban bylaw, B) waiting to see what the province would do on the issue or, C) simply doing nothing ) council ultimately chose the wait and see approach.


When called to question on a motion to await the province’s next move, Mayor Greg Granstrom and councillors Kathy Wallace and Laurie Charlton were in favour with councillors Andy Stradling, Hanne Smith and Kathy Moore opposed. On the flip side, when the motion to enact a bylaw was put to question, the results were reversed. The result: a hung council and no movement on the issue.


However, seeing a significant amount of public support for the bylaw and newly-reinvigtorated conciousness of the issue following the Canadian Cancer Society’s recent event and movie screening in town, councillor Kathy Moore is bringing a new pesticide ban bylaw motion to council.


“There was so much public support for a public ban on pesticides in Rossland the last time it came up and went down as a 3-3 tie,” explained Moore. “I think there’s been some actions by councillors to learn more about the issue and people’s points of view since then. I‘ve heard from a number of citizens and doctors in this community and they all say it’s basically a no-brainer. We’re not exactly on the cutting edge here; this is what a lot of other communities are doing. The UBCM has been trying with resolutions the last two years asking the provincial government to implement a ban. Every municipality was there and the majority of them thought it was a good idea.”


The provincial government has yet to take any action on the issue and Moore is tired of waiting to see what they do first. “My thing is, why should we wait for the province to act? Sometimes it’s the municipalities that can lead the way and we shouldn’t have to wait for the province.”


The motion coming to council at their next meeting will offer a different angle on the issue than last time around. Rather than asking whether a new bylaw should be written up or to wait this motion asks staff to draft a bylaw based on the pesticide ban bylaw that Invermere adopted in the spring of 2009.


“The Invermere bylaw has been pretty well-regarded and covers all the bases. I don’t want to have to reinvent the wheel. There are 34 communities out there that have pesticide bylaws now, so I figure we can pick one that is already good and just tweak it a bit for Rossland.”


The Invermere bylaw states that “No person shall use or apply a pesticide or grant the permission or authority, express or implied, to use or apply a pesticide for the purpose of maintaining outdoor trees, shrubs, flowers, other ornamental plants and turf on, in, under or upon any Private Land or Public Land.”


There are, however, a list of exceptions to that bylaw. The ban does not apply to pesticides used for managing pests that transmit human diseases, manage pest that impact agriculture or forestry, to buildings or inside buildings or on land used for agriculture, forestry, transportation, public utilities or pipelines.


The bylaw also comes with an attached list of 45 pesticides which are permitted exceptions to the bylaw [please see the attached file for the complete bylaw].

As to her hopes for how council will receive the motion this time around, Moore is optimistic she’ll get a positive result.


“It’s hard to say, really, but I’m hopeful. I think we’re an open-minded group of people that look at both sides of the issues, and you never know.”


The bylaw will be on the agenda for Rossland City Council’s next regular meeting on November 8th.


What do you think? Should the use of pesticides be banned in Rossland?

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