Calgarians celebrate pesticide-free parks

Hundreds of parents brought their children to one of Calgary's pesticide-free parks Saturday to show their support for a proposed pesticide bylaw.

Hundreds of parents brought their children to one of Calgary's pesticide-free parks Saturday to show their support for a proposed pesticide bylaw.

New Edinborough Park, which in 1998 became the first in Calgary to ban the use of pesticides, is now one of five such green spaces in the city.

Parents at the Party in the Park said they were glad to see the city's pesticide bylaw, which would ban the use of lawn chemicals, back on track. Calgary is the largest municipality in Canada without a pesticide bylaw. If passed, it would become the first major city in the Prairies to implement such legislation.

City staff wanted to delay giving the pesticide draft bylaw to council until 2010, but instead decided to stick to their original timeline, which will see the draft rules for phasing out the use of lawn chemicals presented in the fall.

However, parent Melanie Isles said that's not fast enough.

"It's the same as everything with Calgary. We're completely behind the ball. We're one of the major cities in the country and we're behind the ball on recycling, we're behind the ball on public transportation, we're behind the ball on pesticides," Isles said.

"It's dumb. We should be leading the pack, we should be leading the country in this kind of thing, and we're behind. It's embarrassing. It's embarrassing to say I come from Calgary knowing these things."

Peanut White, who brought her daughter out for the event, said she would like to see pesticides banned in the entire city.

"When she [my daughter] was younger, she used to eat grass all the time, so it was very big component whether or not it was pesticide free," she said.

"I would basically only remain at places that were pesticide free and choose not to go to the other ones because I didn't want her to get that risk."