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Municipalities might not be able to pass their own cosmetic pesticide bans. (CBC)

The P.E.I. Department of Environment is seeking a legal opinion as to whether municipalities can pass their own cosmetic pesticide bans.

During the spring sitting of the legislature, when MLA James Aylward asked Environment Minister Janice Sherry if municipalities were able to pass bans, she said they could.

But a spokesperson for the department now says that may not be the case.

The Town of Stratford's own legal opinion, received in November, was that municipalities can't pass the bans themselves.

Municipalities need the legal authority because the provincial ban is too weak, says Roger Gordon, member of a group called Pesticide-Free P.E.I. that is lobbying Stratford to bring in a ban.

"We had an opportunity within the province in 2010 to bring in legislation that could have been all-encompassing like a number of other provinces have done, and instead, the province decided to bring in very inadequate law that only banned one chemical. So if the province isn't going to do the job then we have to rely on the municipalities," said Gordon.

The Town of Stratford has asked the province to change the Municipalities Act so cities and towns have the authority to bring in pesticide bans if they choose to do so.

Pesticide-Free P.E.I. is holding a public forum on pesticide use in Charlottetown on May 29.

The Department of Environment says it hopes to have answers on the legalities of municipal pesticide bans by that date.