Nova Scotia

Herbicide spraying cancelled again in Nova Scotia due to protests

For the second time this month, plans to spray herbicide in Nova Scotia’s forests have been cancelled after outcry from local residents. 

Province says 377 hectares of woodland in Annapolis County won’t be sprayed this year

The municipal council in Annapolis County has asked the province for a moratorium on glyphosate spraying in the area. (Submitted by Nina Newington)

For the second time this month, plans to spray herbicide in Nova Scotia's forests have been cancelled after opposition from residents who camped out on the land. 

A spokesperson for Nova Scotia Environment confirmed Thursday that about 377 hectares of private woodland in Annapolis County won't be sprayed with glyphosate this year.

The company that does the spraying, Century Forestry Consultants, told the department that spraying won't go ahead. 

Protesters had been occupying the land that's owned by lumber company Harry Freeman and Son since Saturday.

"I just felt huge relief," said protester Nina Newington. "You know, you spend time on these sites and you start to see the frogs and the birds that are hanging around … so it gets kind of personal."

Three sites were approved for spraying in the county — one near Eel Weir Lake and two more near Paradise Lake.

A total of 42 sites across the province received approval from Nova Scotia Environment to be sprayed with herbicides this year. 

Residents and municipal leaders in Annapolis County say the spraying could impact people's water supply as well as the health of the forest.

Municipal council wants moratorium

Glyphosate is used in the forestry industry to kill deciduous trees, allowing the softwoods sought by harvesters to grow unhampered. It's also used widely by farmers to keep weeds out of their crops.

The herbicide is approved by Health Canada, which said last year it does not consider the chemical to be a cancer risk if it's used correctly.

But Timothy Habinski, the warden of Annapolis County, told CBC's Information Morning earlier this week that the federal government has failed to provide enough evidence that glyphosate is safe. 

Habinski wants more scientific study done on the impacts on people's health and the health of the environment.

His council has asked the provincial government for a moratorium on spraying in the county.

I think people have just had it. It's like no, this can't go on.- Nina Newington, Annapolis County resident

Richard Freeman, the owner of Harry Freeman and Son, didn't respond to requests for comment about the spraying earlier this week.

A small group of people in Burlington also won their battle against spraying on North Mountain earlier this month, which resulted in Century Forestry cancelling its plans to spray a 46-hectare site.

Newington hopes politicians take notice. 

"I think people have just had it," she said. "It's like, no, this can't go on. This is ridiculous."

With files from CBC's Information Morning