Letter from council candidate re: pesticide use

By Contributor
July 31st, 2013

Dear Editor,

Did you know that being cosmetic-pesticide-free will save tax dollars in the long run?

A recent “Thanks & Spanks” post (in the Castlegar News), bewailing City parks being watered almost daily while residents are fined if they do so outside of their allotted days, reminded me not only that pesticide-treated lawns need frequent watering, wasting both water and hence tax dollars, but also that the lawns’ dependence on the purchase of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers becomes an increasingly expensive addiction.

Evidence shows that converting to organic turf-maintenance, i.e. nurturing healthy soil microbiology and hence strong grass that overtakes the weeds, is cheaper in the long run. More labour-intensive care such as proper aeration, compost topdressing and natural soil amendments, cost a bit more for the first two years and then drop significantly. Vancouver, Port Moody, Burnaby, Ottawa and Halifax have found pesticide-free care to be cost effective.

To quote a rigorous report prepared for members of the New York State legislature in 2010, which thanks to the Canadian Cancer Society we found via the reputable “Beyond pesticides” webpage, http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=3318 , “the annual cost of maintaining a field using natural products and techniques can be as much as 25% lower than the cost of conventional programs using chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

“It can take a few seasons to undo the damage caused by chemical management programs, revitalize the soil biology and let nature do its work,” says the report’s principal author, Charles “Chip” Osborne, a nationally-recognized natural turf expert and Beyond Pesticides board member who serves as a consultant to many New York school districts. “But once we get the soil biology working for us, we can see some dramatic and significant cost reductions fairly quickly.”

I’ve provided this information to our Civic Works department, as well as links to North America’s foremost advisor on natural turf management, Paul Tukey of www.safelawns.org , and contacts with pesticide-free municipalities such as Revelstoke, Nelson and Grand Forks.

Looking forward to attending this Tuesday’s 9 a.m. Civic Works Committee meeting, at 4500 Minto Road, to hear them digesting and deliberating on this win-win alternative!

Antoinette Halberstadt

Categories: GeneralOp/EdPolitics