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OPINION: Pesticide decision ‘a joke’

To simply allow people to apply banned pesticides, with or without a $50 fee is ridiculous.
To simply allow people to apply banned pesticides, with or without a $50 fee is ridiculous. - Letters to the Editor

To simply allow people to apply banned pesticides, with or without a $50 fee is ridiculous.

BY OLE HAMMARLUND

GUEST OPINION

The recent vote by Charlottetown City Council and mayor has opened the door for new and exciting sources of revenue for the city.

A year ago, the city, after years of discussion, approved a pesticide bylaw that eliminated the use of cosmetic pesticides to combat the dreaded dandelions and cinch bugs. The bylaw included an innovative exception: For a fee of just $50, a city inspector would visit your property and authorize the use of the banned pesticides. This proved a popular option and recently city councillors and mayor decided to keep this exception.

As an architect dealing with cumbersome bylaws in the city for 40 years, I welcome this development and suggest that the city use this innovative method of collecting revenues. Instead of cumbersome variance hearings, why not simply collect a fee? For instance, the city could collect $100 for each foot that a building addition could move closer to the property line. The potential for extra revenue is huge, especially in the traffic control area. I think a fee of $100 for driving 60 km instead of the usual 50 km could be very popular and what about that bothersome stopping at stop signs when no one is around?

I am joking, right? Or is the city joking?

The pesticide bylaw was initially approved, based on the fact that the use of cosmetic pesticides pollutes our environment, with the so-called benefits being only cosmetic, such as a lawn without dandelions or cinch bugs. The bad effects of using pesticides are immediate to kids and adults suffering from breathing problems such as asthma and there are likely many other detrimental effects on birds, insects, pets and people.

Some people that have been used to annual pesticide sprays to keep their lawns spotless may be a bit of a loss of what to do now. I think it is OK to have a city expert help with advice on the options. They are not exactly new or radical. The English perfected lawn care for centuries without pesticides, and remedies include weeding for dandelions or apparently soapy water for cinch bugs.

To simply allow people to apply banned pesticides, with or without a $50 fee is ridiculous. Remember we banned pesticides in the first place for a good reason. This recent decision is a joke. What was the mayor thinking?

- Ole Hammarlund, Charlottetown, Hammarlund and Lips Architects

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