Council opposes ban

Mapleton council is opposed to a pesticide ban, and instead fav­ours a “responsible use plan.”
At its last meeting in Feb­ruary, council passed a resolution supporting the municipality of South Bruce’s request that the provincial government im­plement such a plan for urban pesticide use, instead of banning cosmetic applications.
Premier Dalton McGuinty announced in January the province would begin consultations on a proposed province-wide ban on cosmetic pesticide use that would replace existing municipal restrictions with a single law. A provincial bill is expected to be tabled sometime this spring.
However, the preamble in South Bruce’s resolution, pass­ed in January, said such a ban sends an inaccurate message.
“A provincial ban will send a signal to the public that pesticides are inherently dangerous; so much so that they need to be banned,” it stated. “The dangers of pesticides are related more to irresponsible use than to the products themselves.”
The provincial government has said agricultural pesticides, as well as those used on golf courses, will be exempt. But South Bruce council said a residential ban on garden and lawn pesticides is a dangerous first step.
“The anti-pesticide activists will swing their efforts and media coverage towards agriculture, promoting a similar ban or restriction on pesticide use,” the resolution stated.
According to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), about 30 municipalities in On­tario have already banned or re­stricted the cosmetic use of pesticides.
South Bruce council feels that already most of those muni­cipalities “inadvertently also restrict or potentially re­strict agricultural pesticide use on land used for agricultural production located within and-or adjoining these urban areas.”
As such, South Bruce proposes the province implement a “responsible use plan for urban pesticide use” that would in­clude:
– a minimum training re­quirement for anyone to purchase or apply pesticides, similar to the Grower Pesticide Safe­ty Certificate that has been in effect for agriculture for many years;
– a minimum training re­quirement for vendors selling urban pesticides, similar to the Vendor Pesticide Certificate that has been required in agriculture for many years;
– some pesticide schedules to be applied by professionals (licenced exterminators) only; and
– a media campaign to educate homeowners on proper pesticide use, and to discourage cosmetic pesticide use.
The South Bruce resolution was forwarded to every member of the Rural Ontario Muni­cipal Association (ROMA), as well as to the MOE and the Ministry of Agriculture.
It concludes by stating, “The Ontario agriculture community has been very proactive in establishing an effective education, training, warehouse, and application standards and licencing system for the agricultural industry. “We would encourage the non-agricultural community of Ontario to take a similar approach.”
After very little discussion, council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the South Bruce position.