Charlottetown mayor calls for ban on cosmetic pesticides in city

Dave Stewart
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Charlottetown city councillor Rob Lantz, shows council Monday the list f names supporting the change of the name of University Avenue between Grafton and Euston Streets back its original Great George Street. Lantz was speaking during the regulart meeeting of council. At right is Coun. Jason Coady.

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee says cosmetic pesticides need to be banned in the capital city.

City council passed a resolution at its regular public monthly meeting Monday, asking that the provincial government amend the Charlottetown Area Municipalities Act to enable the city to regulate cosmetic pesticides.

"My position is cosmetic pesticides need to be banned within the city,'' Lee said following the meeting. "If I'm re-elected, regardless of whatever approach we need to take to effectively do that, we'll do.''

In one other significant move at Monday's meeting, Coun. Rob Lantz, chairman of the planning committee, said his committee is going to be looking very soon at the possibility of changing the name of University Avenue, from Euston Street to Province House, back to Great George Street. That's what that particular section of street used to be called.

In terms of the pesticide issue, right now municipalities like Charlottetown have no control over the use of pesticides. It's something that has to be dealt with at the provincial level and until the provincial government makes changes in legislation it will stay that way.

The Town of Stratford, for example, recently launched an education campaign on alternatives to cosmetic pesticides and stated that it doesn't use chemicals on its properties.

Coun. Rob Lantz, chairman of the planning committee that moved the resolution, said there is always confusion as to who has the power to regulate pesticides.

"People look to the city to make a decision, one way or the other,'' Lantz said. "Tonight we're not talking about judging the issue, we're simply asking the provincial government to make the decision if they so wish to regulate cosmetic pesticides.''

Rob Gallant, who owns Atlantic Graduate Pest Management in Charlottetown, said he isn't surprised to hear the topic is back on the agenda.

"It's an election year,'' Gallant said. "If they're so sincere about the environment, so sincere about the use of cosmetic pesticides then why do they start talking about it two months before an election?''

Gallant said cosmetic pesticides is a heavily regulated industry, with multiple environmental officers out there on a regular basis making sure companies like his are licensed, that the products are being applied properly, that the products are registered, that neighbours are notified before an application and that wind speeds and direction are taken into account before an application.

Gallant said the big risk in an outright ban is that it can create a black market where property owners do it themselves without training or have unlicensed companies taking care of it.

Former city councillor Philip Brown, who is running for mayor, has made a ban of cosmetic pesticides a big part of his campaign, too.

Lee said it should surprise no one that council has opted to go this route.

"I don't think this is an issue that should surprise anybody. Certainly, the citizens of Charlottetown I believe, are asking for this ban, they've been asking for it for quite some time.''

Lee acknowledged that the approach of asking the province to grant the city legislative powers on the issue has not worked in the past.

"Quite frankly, if I'm re-elected as mayor I will be encouraging the next council to come in with a ban of cosmetic pesticides within the boundaries of the city and we will regulate that.''

Lee said he isn't sure how enforcement would work if in fact the province does amend the municipalities act. The city would need the resources to regulate the products.

"I'm certainly not in favour of having a bylaw but not the resources to enforce that bylaw. We could probably have that discussion with the provincial government to see if they have resources available to the municipalities for that enforcement and, if not, then we'll have to look at other options.''

The next step is up to the provincial government but the legislature has to be sitting before any changes can be made.

"That may happen later this fall or it may happen in the spring. That's up to government. The time has come to move on this issue. Let's deal with it and get it done.''



Organizations: Province House, Atlantic Graduate Pest Management

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Euston Street, Great George Street Stratford

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Recent comments

  • Dick Penderyn
    September 17, 2014 - 08:25

    Whether this is a re-election ploy of Mayor Lee or not, it is a very important subject to people who are more concerned about their own health over that of the grass around their property. Cancer is far from being selective so why ignore the fact that the use of pesticides increases the number of victims who find they have cancerous growths in or on their body? I advocate pesticides should be banned totally and using an illegal pesticide should come with a jail sentence and a fine.

  • Quiet Observer
    September 09, 2014 - 09:26

    I think if they actually surveyed Charlottetown residents own property with lawns/gardens, they would find the exact opposite point of view and that they actually do not want the ban. It is a fad for politicians.

    • Harland
      September 09, 2014 - 11:46

      Seriously? As a property owner and parent, I definitely want the ban.

  • Jack
    September 09, 2014 - 09:18

    Would it not be pathetic if we did not have a competition for the Mayor's seat? Mr. Lee is now compelled to address some issues, that would otherwise be left hanging. The issue of property taxes, and the careless spending by the current Mayor is a major concern of mine. Why are the taxpayers feeding hotdogs and pop to various neighborhood?? This is unneeded and only serves as vote buying by he current Mayor and Council. I want to see a change to this, and I thank Mr. Brown for giving us a change to vote for a change. It is my hope that people will vote for changes, where ever there are new people running against incumbents. We need new people, who will be more responsible with the taxpayers money, -even to the point of reducing our taxes.

  • Joseph
    September 09, 2014 - 09:07

    "The time has come to moves on this issue", says the Mayor, ---- The time is long overdue and you jumping on the band wagon 2 months before the election is pure opportunism, ---- you just lost my vote with this 'spin' .If you were serious you could have asked the Province last year, - and maybe you would be able to tell us about the results of that request now. Time for a new Mayor, the seat has become too comfortable for Clifford.

  • Two Useless Things
    September 09, 2014 - 08:15

    Changing the name of University Ave. between Grafton and Euston back to Great George... How about forgetting about the name for a while and putting some actual street lights in that area. That is a busy pat of town and the lights that are there now are a joke. If the idea is to save energy just unplug them because they serve no practical purpose. Speaking of serving no practical purpose it will be great when the election is over so we won't have to listen to Philip Brown for another four years.

  • The observer from Stratford
    September 09, 2014 - 07:48

    Never mentioned in all these attempts to eliminate pesticides is one of the biggest culprits. Will the ban include golf courses? I suspect not. A single weed anywhere on those manicured fairways would surely upset the rich folks.

  • Small island
    September 09, 2014 - 06:04

    Having municipal bans in the city is a good first step but really, PEI is such a small fragmented island... It would be better to have a single provincial law apply from shore to shore to shore to shore.... Remember 15-20 years ago when smoking bans were being implemented? It started with municipalities until finally the useless legislative assembly acted. It'll be the same case here.

  • Ronnie
    September 09, 2014 - 05:40

    Shows Brown has no platform and Lee running scared! This shows that you have folks who know nothing about running a city when all they have is something that has been beaten to death for yrs and both know they have no authority in this matter! I look forward to you coming to my door Clifford!

  • What difference will this make?
    September 09, 2014 - 05:31

    Can't just regulate the people of Charlottetown, for any of it to be truly effective it has to be province wide, including organic pesticides that caused the last fish kill! Wether organic or chemical based if you do not use it correctly it does damage, and yes it has to apply to the potato farmers as well to have any real effect on the province! banning it in the city while the farmers pour it on the potatoes and whatever other crops and it drains into our water supply, doesn't make any of it effective!

  • Concerned islander
    September 08, 2014 - 20:19

    Tweel looking awfully uncomfortable in Ted Kitsons seat in the picture.