Banning Pesticides in Saanich

Popular pesticides restricted from Saanich next spring
By Keith Vass – Saanich News

If you’re still using pesticides on your property be warned. Your neighbours wil be able to do more than cast disparaging looks at you next spring.

Saanich council has passed a bylaw severely restricting the use of chemical pesticides.

Under the new rules, which will come into effect May 1, 2010, residential property owners will need a permit to use most chemical pesticides.

The bylaw is based on a model put forward by the Capital Regional District’s Roundtable on the Environment in 2004.

Coun. Judy Brownoff said the amount of discussion over pesticides since then, coupled with Saanich’s own efforts to promote its efforts to reduce pesticide use in parks should mean the bylaw won’t come as a surprise to homeowners.

“We participated in all the education, so it’s not like people aren’t aware of it,” she said.

Council elected to step up the date the rules come into effect. Staff had proposed waiting until Jan. 1, 2011.

“I think the time for education and awareness-raising is important, but we don’t need to delay implementation of the bylaw because of that,” said Coun. Dean Murdock, who made the motion to speed the process along. He noted that first offences will be met with a warning.

The bylaw makes Saanich the third CRD municipality to enact restrictions on pesticide use. Victoria passed a similar bylaw in 2007 and Esquimalt followed suit in 2008.

Restricted pesticides will remain on store shelves. Municipalities don’t have the power to ban the sale of the chemicals, that power rests with the provincial and federal governments.

The rules also only apply to residential property. Institutional, commercial and industrial property owners will remain free to use chemicals without restriction.

But one of Saanich’s largest institutional landowners already tries to keep pesticide use to a minimum.

The University of Victoria “strives for zero pesticide/herbicide use and applies pesticides and herbicides only in very limited cases when problems occur,” said spokesperson Maria Lironi.