A third public meeting was held at city hall this week to discuss a lawn pesticide ban.
And for the third time, there were the Tammy Treehuggers crowing over the health and environmental dangers associated with pesticide use, calling for a total ban.
There also were the assorted Weed Killers crying foul, arguing a total pesticide ban would see more homeowners flock to big box stores to buy drums of the stuff to flood their lawns.
Different meeting, same information.
So just where is the leadership of council?
We elect councillors to listen to information and make informed decisions.
Yet, this council can’t seem to grasp that notion, instead taking another opportunity to waste time and duck a sensitive issue.
The pesticide debate in the City of Sarnia has dragged on for years. Council has had ample opportunity to make an informed decision on a bylaw.
Yet, city staff continue to review bylaws in other communities at the direction of council and hold public meetings.
This time around, about a dozen people were given five minutes each to make a presentation. Last year 29 people spoke.
One by one they came to the podium, several saying the information they were providing was the same information they provided last year.
That’s a hell of a way to use staff resources and taxpayer dollars. There are two types of possible bylaws before council: those that outright ban cosmetic pesticide use and those that adopt an Integrated Pest Management program that promotes pest control and pesticide use by licensed lawn professionals.
Personally, I could do with a little less poison in my environment. Will some homeowners ignore a ban and over-spray their lawns, as suggested by the lawn company reps? Of course, but they can do that now.
There are many studies that suggest a link between lawn pesticides and health problems.
A study conducted by Environmental Defence last year detected an average of 32 toxic chemicals in Canadian parent volunteers and 23 chemicals in each child. Among those chemicals were high levels of pesticides, even though many reported they didn’t even use them.
So, councillors, when a draft bylaws come back to you in coming weeks, do everyone a favour and make a decision so we can all breathe a little easier.
Jack Poirier is a reporter at The Observer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org