Non-essential pesticides banned

Saanich bans pesticides
By Kim Westad, Times Colonist

Saanich gardeners won’t be allowed to use non-essential pesticides this spring.

The municipality has banned the use of so-called cosmetic pesticides because of their negative effect on the environment.

The ban was initially scheduled to go into effect January 2011, but when Coun. Dean Murdock suggested it start earlier, council unanimously agreed. It will come into effect May 1.

“We want to enact the bylaw for the spring gardening season,” Murdock said yesterday. “We don’t want to miss another season.”

The municipality has already implemented an education campaign about pesticide use, and has reduced use on municipal land by 95 per cent.

The penalty for a first offence is a warning, but subsequent offences can carry a penalty from $250 to $10,000.

Gardeners who want to use pesticides must apply to the municipality. Permission may be granted when there is an infestation that could adversely affect the ecosystem or pose the threat of serious economic loss.

Victoria and Esquimalt also have bylaws banning pesticides, as do another 150 municipalities across Canada.