The Corner Brook Western Star
BY ANDREW ROBINSON
No second look on pesticide ban
ST. JOHN’S — The fact Minister of Environment and Conservation Terry French is new to the job was apparent Tuesday at the Atlantic Green Forum event hosted by Landscape Newfoundland and Labrador in St. John’s.
In the agenda, the time at which French was scheduled to speak was listed with the title, “Lunch with the Environment Minister Ross Wiseman.” French himself referenced his newness to the role in the opening remarks of his speech.
“Not to use a pun I’m sure you’ve all heard before, but I’m certainly green when it comes to the job,” he said to rounds of laughter.
But even though he may be new to the job, French is already hearing from parties interested in the government’s environmental policy, including Landscape Newfoundland and Labrador, a group vocally opposed to government’s pesticide ban. The ban, which comes into effect next year and was first announced in July, includes carbaryl, 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), mecoprop, dicamba, and MCPA (2-methyl-4-
French said government is not prepared to revisit its decision.
“Obviously I’ll sit down with the stakeholders and try to find alternate means, but the ban is here to stay,” he said.
Landscape Newfoundland and Labrador president Don Barry, owner of Servicemaster Lawn Care in St. John’s, said the decision to implement the ban was not made with adequate foresight.
“What it really means is it has eliminated the ability for industry to control some very serious pests,” he said. “Not necessarily weed control, but certainly when we get to damaging insects like chinch bugs and grub work and grub damage, that does cause quite a concern.”
Barry said there are no alternative means for adequately dealing with such matters, and he questions whether government made its decision based on science, noting Health Canada considers the banned substances safe to use.
He also cannot understand why the ban was not implemented for golf courses. Agricultural and forestry uses were also exempt from the ban by the province.
Preparing now for the ban, Barry said his own business will be challenged to handle insect control. He has researched vacuuming technology and a product that can handle weed problems, but he deems it to be expensive and less effective.
He expects lawn care businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador will take an economic hit as a result of the pesticide ban.
Terry French - House of Assembly - Newfoundland and Labrador
2011 Atlantic Green Forum promotes “The Green City”