Cornwall passes pesticide bylaw

Nigel Armstrong
Published on December 16, 2015

Roger Gordon of Stratford, left, with Pesticide Free P.E.I. shares a light moment with Cornwall councillors Shane McGuigan and Elaine Barnes prior to the start of December's monthly meeting. Barnes later brought in a motion establishing a new cosmetic pesticide bylaw in Cornwall.

©THE GUARDIAN/Nigel Armstrong

Identical to Stratford's, it lists approved chemicals, allows attacks on infestations with approval process

Cornwall is now on board with a bylaw controlling cosmetic pesticides within the community.

At its December monthly meeting Wednesday, Cornwall council passed second and third reading of a bylaw that had been negotiated earlier to be identical together with Charlottetown and Stratford.

Stratford was first to pass a pesticide control bylaw, on Aug. 12 this year. In May this year Charlottetown had the same bylaw on the agenda, but then voted it down in July, saying the issue was entirely the province's.

The bylaw does not explicitly ban anything, but rather lists approved chemicals and compounds for use by either residents or professional lawn-care companies.

Under provincial rules, however, this bylaw cannot control anything that is applied to farm land, forest land or roads within the community borders.

The meeting also passed a separate resolution asking the provincial government to strengthen pesticide legislation and further demanding that it "accept the sole responsibility for regulating and enforcement of all legislation on P.E.I. related to pesticides."

Councillor Irene Dawson tabled that motion and refused to vote in favour of the main pesticide bylaw presented later in the meeting.

"It's to hold their feet to the fire to afford some type of protection to persons who do not live in incorporated areas," said Dawson.

She said Cornwall's new pesticide bylaw takes pressure off the province and puts all the responsibility on municipalities.

"I just don't think that is the fair way to go about it," she said. "I don't want anyone to think I condone the use of pesticides. I do not."

She said the new Cornwall bylaw is a placebo and not the way to stop pesticide use.

Coun. Peter Meggs said he believes that at some point down the road the province will surely step up and take greater action on the pesticide issue.

Coun. Elaine Barnes, chair of Cornwall's finance committee presented the main motion, bringing the pesticide bylaw into place effective Jan. 1.

"I didn't want to see any delay," she said.

Barnes said "it's to get people thinking outside the box," like using boiling water on ant hills or soapy water against earwigs.

Barnes said that for serious infestations of pests such as the cinch bug, residents can apply to the town for permission to use or hire someone to use stronger formulations.

Who will process and police those applications has yet to be worked out, she said.

There was applause from the packed gallery when the pesticide bylaw passed.

"It's been a long journey but I'm absolutely thrilled," said Christine Gordon Manley. "They did the right thing."

She had led the charge as a Cornwall resident on the pesticide control issue.