Complaints halt herbicide spraying in Eastern Shore

Complaints from Eastern Shore residents have stopped Nova Scotia Power from spraying herbicide on tall trees along power lines in the area.

Complaints from Eastern Shore residents have stopped Nova Scotia Power from spraying herbicide on tall trees along power lines in the area.

The corporation planned to use Tordon 101 to kill trees that could interfere with lines in the winter and cause power outages. The spraying program was scheduled for early June.

But when orange tape went up around trees in the Sheet Harbour area, NSP started getting calls and emails from concerned residents.

Barbara Markovits, a Clam Harbour resident and co-chair of the Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association, worried about the safety of people and animals in the area.

"I'm not so sure I want anything that's that final near anywhere that a child or an animal might get to and eat the poisoned leaves," Markovits told CBC News.

NSP uses Tordon 101, which, according to the manufacturer, has no effect on animals and insects, and has a low toxicity for humans if ingested.

The herbicide is applied directly to the top of tall trees, and not dropped from above by any aircraft, said NSP spokeswoman Jennifer Parker. Crew members wear backpacks or containers are mounted on trucks.

In light of the complaints from the Eastern Shore, Parker said crews will only cut down the trees in the region.

"Although we did take a number of questions from residents in the area, our sense was that there was still a high level of concern with us using herbicides, and so we do have an alternate method," she said.

Parker said NSP has had a spraying program for decades, and crews are out all the time in the summer in pockets across the province.

She said anyone who has concerns about spraying in their area can contact the corporation.

Markovits is pleased there will be no spraying in the Eastern Shore, but she's not impressed that it will continue in other areas unless residents complain.

"If it's not OK for us, then it's not OK for anyone. They should just stop," said Markovits.