Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Persistent pesticides to be sprayed in Newfoundland

The government is also going to expand its brush cutting program along our major roadways and will increase funding for the work. They will also use herbicides to prevent regrowth of alders and other brush. According to the Department of Transportation and Works such herbicide application is effective for up to 10 years. I have no doubt there will be those who oppose the use of herbicides, but in this context it makes a lot of sense. For years we have been saying that brush cutting is just like farming for the moose and the new growth draws them out to the road. Discouraging that new growth is needed if the brush cutting is to be truly successful.

July 9, 2011

The St. John’s Telegram

Finally, an effort to deal with moose

by Randy Simms

The provincial government is finally going to tackle the moose vehicle collision problem. On Wednesday, Environment Minister Ross Wiseman announced a number of new initiatives all designed to try and reduce the carnage these accidents produce on our highways. They are going to spend some $5 million in a series of pilot projects to see if they can reduce the numbers. It’s about time.

There will be a fair amount of skepticism over this announcement. The upcoming October election looms and having a well organized group criticizing you for failing to do anything about these accidents while you’re out seeking votes is not a strategy for success.

Whether the election is a motivating factor or not is somewhat irrelevant. The need to do something about the problem is long overdue.

Government has finally agreed to try fencing as a means of reducing these accidents. One of the pilot projects will see a 15-kilometre fence built along sections of highway where collisions have been prevalent. The fencing will be installed at different points along the roadway. Exact locations have yet to be determined but government hopes to see the work start in late fall. A review of current accident data will be used to pinpoint where they will go. Given the success rate reported from other jurisdictions, we can assume with some level of confidence that this move will be successful.

One of the more innovative projects will involve the installation of wildlife detection systems. Two infrared beams will be mounted at various heights along the side of the road. When the beams are broken it will trigger warning lights to alert the travelling public. The province of Ontario has already studied this system and it works. According to their report when the lights are activated people reduce their speed by five per cent and compliance with the posted speed limits went up by 41 per cent. These are strong numbers.

The government is also going to expand its brush cutting program along our major roadways and will increase funding for the work. They will also use herbicides to prevent regrowth of alders and other brush. According to the Department of Transportation and Works such herbicide application is effective for up to 10 years. I have no doubt there will be those who oppose the use of herbicides, but in this context it makes a lot of sense. For years we have been saying that brush cutting is just like farming for the moose and the new growth draws them out to the road. Discouraging that new growth is needed if the brush cutting is to be truly successful.

The province also intends to enhance its public awareness program and will add a section to the graduated licensing curriculum for new drivers which deals with moose-vehicle collisions. While this won’t hurt, I’m not sure it will do a lot to reduce these kinds of accidents. New drivers are warned about the dangers of speeding, too, but it seems to go in one ear and out the other most times.

There was one thing missing from the plan which surprised me. Why did we ignore the speed limit? As long as this debate has raged — and it’s been a long one — people have argued that moose are not the problem. Our problem is speed.

While speeding is not the sole reason for such accidents, there is no denying the obvious. People are driving too fast for the conditions on our highways, especially at night. Changing the speed limit for night driving from 100 kilometres per hour down to 85 kilometres per hour makes sense. Ours would not be the first jurisdiction to ever do it and enforcing it places no more burden on traffic enforcement officers than they have now. I can’t help but think that passing sign after sign advising you that the night time speed limit is 85 kilometres would have a positive impact.

Of course, none of this actually deals with the moose. The last time I checked, we were reported to have a moose population which tops out at over 140,000 animals. This is simply too many. Maintaining a healthy population and keeping the numbers in check falls to a different department of government, but none of the initiatives about to be tried or those we have yet to try will mean anything if we don’t also curb those numbers.

Randy Simms hosts VOCM/CFCB’S “Open Line.” He can be reached at rsimms@nf.sympatico.ca.


http://www.thetelegram.com/Blog-Article/b/11212/Randy-Simms-moves-to-Telegram
http://www.thetelegram.com/photo/Randy-Simms-1162111




Mayor Randy Simms began his career in municipal politics in 1989 when he was first elected to the Mount Pearl Municipal Council. He has been serving as an elected official in the city ever since. In his time at city hall he has chaired all major standing committees and also served 5 years as Deputy Mayor before assuming the Mayor’s chair in 2007. Following that two year appointment he was acclaimed as Mayor in the election of September, 2009.

Mayor Simms has been a resident of Mount Pearl since 1976 and is a founding member of the Mount Pearl Chamber of Commerce. He served two terms as the Chamber’s President before moving on to municipal government. Mayor Simms is a past President of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) and continues to serve with this provincial body today as a representative on the Urban Municipalities Committee (UMC). He was also the first elected chair of the Province’s Municipal Assessment Agency and was a founding member of the Zone 19 Economic Development Board. Mayor Simms also holds the distinction of being the only elected official to complete a Certificate in Municipal Administration from Memorial University while in elected office. He is married (Florence) and they have one son (Justin).



Telephone: 709-748-1030
Alternate Telephone: 709-368-7265

Fax: 709-748-1150

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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory

My Past Articles

More enforcement needed for pesticide spray regulations
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - Final - 10-01-2002 - 413 words
Karen Griffin - Judie Squires says someone needs to patrol the companies that spray residential areas for pesticides because she's observed nine violations of the Environmental Protection Act in her Paradise neighborhood alone


Spray woes: Province falling down on monitoring pesticides
The Telegram (St. John's) - Final - 10-01-2002 - 253 words
Judie Squires - environment to become poisoned? A temporary ban on all residential pesticides has to be put into place, to protect us, our wildlife and our environment as a whole. Judie Squires Paradise


Government lax on cosmetic pesticide regulation: advocate
The Telegram (St. John's) - 08-28-2004 - 613 words
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The Telegram (St. John's) - 09-04-2005 - 496 words
Squires, Judie - it to do is to prohibit the cosmetic use of synthetic pesticides altogether in order to protect our citizens and the environment. Judie Squires writes from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's


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The Telegram (St. John's) - 07-16-2006 - 781 words
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Above Articles available through Trancontinental Newsnet

Time for provincial lawn pesticide regulation
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