Call for pesticide ban

A local environmental group is once again asking the City of Vernon to ban cosmetic pesticide use in city parks, lawns and gardens.

“The focus of our presentation here is actually health,” said Terry Dyck, Sustainable Environment Network Society director, told city council on Monday.

He pointed out that Vernon, as a blue dot community, has a commitment to clean air and water and healthy food for its citizens.

“Pesticides affect all three,” Dyck said. “The Canadian Cancer Society is asking for a ban on all cosmetic pesticides.”

Dyck said the chemicals are not only linked to cancer but to a host of other illnesses, including Alzheimers and asthma.

Forty B.C. communities have already banned cosmetic pesticides, including Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke, he pointed out.

“We urge the City of Vernon to enact a cosmetic pesticide ban as fast as possible,” said Keli Westgate, also with SENS.

She called the pesticides “non-essential chemicals used to beautify lawns and gardens” that tainted water sources and caused unknown damage to bees, birds and waterfowl.

Westgate also pointed out that School District 22 no longer allowed the use of cosmetic pesticides on its properties.

SENS made its first pitch for a ban 17 years ago, and has made four presentations in all to the city.

Cosmetic pesticides are already banned in the District of Coldstream.

"Coldstream uses organic pesticides and manual weed removal in our parks, as decided several years ago,” said Mayor Jim Garlick. “Agricultural land will always be exempt due to the right to farm legislation which overrides any local legislation."

Vernon city councillor Catherine Lord has asked staff to dig up a past report to council to find out why the chemicals were not banned the last time the matter came before council.

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