Bylaw repeal for pesticide use contentious in the Village
Several concerned citizens have come forward over the repeal of a bylaw at the Monday Mar. 6 Village of Harrison Hot Springs council meeting. It was moved by council that no further action be taken and that staff proceed to prepare a Pesticide Regulation Repeal Bylaw on the Pesticide Use Bylaw No. 948, 2010.
The bylaw in question specifically pertains to the use of pesticides to control the spread of noxious weeds within the community.
The repeal of bylaw No. 948 means that regulation would go back to the province with the Integrated Pest Management Act that was adopted in July of 2016.
According to a report prepared by staff the act brings stricter regulations to the permitted use of pesticides, which includes “non-commercial” products, intended for use on private property.
However, within these regulations, private residents will still be able to use pesticides domestically, provided they obtain a Residential Applicator Certificate (RAC). The certificate is free and accessible online.
Residents are concerned that the action does not prohibit the cosmetic use of pesticides, with some of these pesticides known to be highly toxic.
Environmentalists, homeowners, and pet owners have voiced concerns and submitted letters to the Village office, which caused council to reconsider the repeal.
After three options were granted to council by staff at last Monday’s meeting, it was decided that the repeal would go through.
“Put aside the pesticide bylaw, opening the use of pesticides in our Village will be to the detriment of people and pets — the water table in the Village is very shallow and many of us take our water from the ground from a shallow well. Cancer causing chemicals will deposit in the water table faster, and un-filtered, making it a hazard to our families health,” Harrison resident Saviour Damato told The Observer. Damato also submitted a letter to council with his concerns on the move to repeal.
Environmentalist and Streamkeeper Society member Janne Perrin also spoke out over the move to repeal the bylaw.
“On my reading of the July 2016 IPMA, the use of glyphosate (active ingredient in Round-Up) is unrestricted if it is for use on provincially listed noxious weeds (eg. Japanese knotweed, tansy ragwort, spotted knapweed, giant hogweed of among the 39 listed). A homeowner would not need a Residential Applicators Certificate to use it,” said Perrin. “As most homeowners have no idea what weeds are actually listed under the BC Weed Control Act much less actually recognize them, the situation could be grim. Glyphosate is deadly to fish and in water, it is my understanding, that it persists much longer than on land. Under the new regulations it may be used within 2-metres of a fish bearing stream. Many other chemicals approved on schedule 2 that require no RAC are also highly toxic to bees and fish.”
Despite concerns from residents, mayor and council were confident that citizens would be able to govern themselves accordingly, safely, and appropriately with the IPMA initiated by the province in 2016.