PEI

Pesticide spraying prompts review

A Charlottetown city councillor has asked for a review after the city sprayed herbicide on some lawns without consulting council or the local residents.

A Charlottetown city councillor has asked for a review after the city sprayed herbicide on some lawns without consulting council or the local residents.

Some residents on Queen Elizabeth Drive were upset this week after the city sprayed their lawns with Oracle Dicamba.

Just one week previous, the provincial environment minister had asked companies to voluntarily stop using that same herbicide.

"Once the issue came out that this was a questionable product, why would you take a chance on using it?" asked Coun. Edward Rice. "Especially in a public area where multiple people are concerned."

Rice said the situation left him in a state of almost disbelief.

"As chairman of water and sewer, and that it was done under our watch and under the utility, I was totally surprised because none of us at that level — in committee level — had been informed," he told CBC News.

"And none of us at council had been informed."

Rice said he has asked city staff to review what happened. He also wants to see a ban on all lawn chemicals in the city.

Company won't use product

The company hired to do the spraying has since pledged not to use any more Oracle Dicamba.

Boyd Loveless of Nutri-Lawn said his company had agreed to the province's voluntary ban on the herbicide. Loveless said the company initially planned to exhaust all the Oracle Dicamba it had, and then not order any more.

He told CBC News Thursday, however, his company has decided not to use any of the product it still has in stock.

The City of Charlottetown sprayed the lawns along Queen Elizabeth Drive due to complaints about weeds in the area. City crews had dug up front lawns there a few years ago to put in new sewer mains. When the grass grew back, so did a number of weeds. 

Resident Patrick Pang said he was happy with the spraying.

"I'm glad they are getting rid of the weeds along here," he told CBC News.

Many residents, however, were upset with the move.

Speaking to CBC earlier this week, Carla DiGiorgio said she had no idea the city planned to spray her lawn.

"There were slips of paper in the mail boxes, but they didn't say what address or what was actually happening. I came out yesterday and saw signs on everybody's lawn," she explained at the time.

"I'm not pleased about it. I don't go for pesticides anyway, so I don't like the fact that we weren't asked."

The province says it will add Oracle Dicamba to a list of banned pesticides when the legislature reconvenes this fall.

P.E.I.'s Green Party says that doesn't go far enough. The party plans to continue pushing for a total ban on cosmetic pesticides in P.E.I.

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