Revelstoke cosmetic pesticide ban bylaw unveiled

Revelstoke city council is scheduled to discuss a newly-unveiled pesticide ban bylaw at their April 12 meeting

Revelstoke city council is scheduled to discuss a newly-unveiled pesticide ban bylaw at their April 12 meeting.

Currently, the city doesn’t use pesticides on city property. In August, 2010, city council directed staff to draft a bylaw extending the pesticide ban to private property, and also study costs, a communication plan, an implementation plan and conduct a legal review of the proposed bylaw.

The bylaw was accompanied by a report from Revelstoke Director of Engineering and Public Works Brian Mallett.

The new bylaw bans the cosmetic use of pesticides on public and private lands. Violators face a $100 fine, and multiple fines for repeat offences.

There are many exemptions to the bylaw. This includes exemptions for specific uses and exempted pesticides.

For example, pesticides are allowed in swimming pools, or if needed to destroy a health hazard. Pesticides are permitted to control ants, termites and wasps.

The bylaw lists 46 pesticides that are exempted. They include things like soaps, domestic pesticides in aerosol containers, slimicides, wood preservatives and insect bait stations.

There are other loopholes. For example, the application of pesticides to control noxious weeds will be allowed “after alternatives have been utilized without success.”

Revelstoke’s golf course has a limited exemption. A licensed pesticide technician will be allowed to apply some pesticides at the golf course, but will be required to submit an annual report to the city that outlines details of pesticide use including quantity and frequency of use. Mallett’s report notes the golf course faces persistent issues with a type of snow mould.

The report estimates the cost for a communications plan for the bylaw to be $5,000. It also says there won’t be other financial implications for the city since a ban on city property is already in place.

The communication plan will explore issues such as “re-evaluation of what a healthy lawn should look like” and environmentally-friendly alternatives to pesticides.

The North Columbia Environmental Society (NCES) was the lead organization lobbying city council for the ban, alongside the Canadian Cancer Society. The NCES also received letters of support from many stakeholder groups in Revelstoke.

In response to a Times Review request for comment on the proposed bylaw, the NCES provided a statement. “The NCES is pleased that council will soon be reviewing the proposed cosmetic pesticide bylaw,” they write. “It is a strong bylaw that will protect the citizens of Revelstoke from harmful pesticides (a blanket term that includes fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides).

“We are also very pleased with the timing; if all goes smoothly it could be in place for this growing season,” they continue. “Well done Revelstoke, we are joining hundreds of other communities across Canada that now have cosmetic pesticide bylaws in place.”

The report recommends first and second reading of the bylaw at the April 12 city council regular meeting. Of course, changes to the bylaw are possible.

Mallett’s report also indicates the city is looking to implement the bylaw by this gardening season.