The City of Vernon will take a closer look at reducing cosmetic pesticide use, both on public and private land.
Council has directed staff to determine the feasibility of a cosmetic pesticide reduction program for public lands, and a bylaw for regulating use on residential lands.
The chemicals are used to improve the look of lawns and gardens, but generate health concerns.
Even though it’s just being reviewed at this point, Terry Dyck of the Sustainable Environment Network Society is pleased with council’s action.
“Vernon has finally caught up to many communities around BC who already have a cosmetic pesticide ban, and its for the health of humans,” Dyck told Beach Radio News.
Dyck doesn’t think a ban would have a negative economic impact.
“As a matter of fact, using people to pull weeds is better for the local economy. Pesticides are actually made form petroleum products, so it’s just going to help some industry that is nowhere near here,” adds Dyck.
Councillor Scott Anderson was the lone opponent, saying pesticides are already regulated, and any action won’t be effective unless its done regionally.
“It has to be done on a regional level. It’s like having an air quality ban in Vernon and not having the regional district involved. To do something like this, it has to be a regional effort.”
While Anderson didn’t think the review was needed, councillor Juliette Cunningham feels there is a need, noting it’s been nine years since the city last examined the issue.
“Things have changed a lot since 2009 when we last looked at this, and I think once we have all that information, we can make a decision on what measures we’ll take,” says Cunningham.
Mayor Akbal Mund says if the city does take action, it’s not likely going to be a ban on all pesticides.
“It’s what other municipalities have done, how and where the applications are made. This doesn’t eliminate all, it looks at what spaces it could be used on, and maybe nothing happens,” says Mund.
One commercial applicator, Green Velvet, made a presentation to council earlier this year, saying a ban isn’t needed as the industry is already highly regulated and safe.