Parksville takes wait-and-see approach to possible ban of cosmetic pesticide use

The provincial government is expected to come up with new rules

The City of Parksville will wait to see what the provincial government does with new laws governing pesticides.

Some councillors seemed to have the appetite to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides in the city, but they decided in the end to see what the province does because its laws will supersede anything the city may do.

The previous city council asked staff in October of 2014 to prepare a report on the impact of a cosmetic pesticide ban in the city, including the cost of enforcement.

Councillors said they were impressed with the report produced by director of community planning Blaine Russell and staff. It detailed what other communities in the area are doing and the legislative outlook.

In the end, council passed a motion to review the progress of the proposed provincial regulations in 12 months and in the interim, direct staff to coordinate with the RDN to provide educational materials about alternatives to pesticide use.

Any bylaw banning pesticide use in the city may be “superfluous” at this point, said Russell, although “what it does more than anything is send a message.”

Council had the option to direct staff to develop a bylaw banning cosmetic pesticide use, but opted for the wait-and-see approach. Coun. Leanne Salter said she doesn’t expect the provincial government will act with any speed on this issue.

“I don’t have confidence they will have much in place 12-18 months from now,” said Salter.

Other items on the city council agenda Monday night:

• A presentation by Vancouver Island North Film Commissioner Joan Miller, outlining what the commission does and asking for financial support from the city, a request that was deferred by council to budget deliberations. Miller said there are currently 23 productions scouting the region, which covers 22,000 square miles — basically the northern half of the Island.

• Council unanimously passed a motion to provide the Guardians of the Mid-Island Estuaries $5,000 to continue its egg addling program and $3,000 for the development of a goose control management plan and to cover the costs of an application to the provincial government for a cull. The group gave a presentation on the problems caused by the goose population at a previous meeting (see www.pqbnews.com for that story). Any final decision to apply for a cull will still have to come from council before it proceeds.

• Four days after its annual general meeting, representatives of the Parksville Downtown Business Association appeared before council to present its financial report and 2015 budget and ask for an advance of 25 per cent of its annual levy. Council received the information and passed the levy request without comment or questions.

• Mayor Marc Lefebvre appointed councillors Mary Beil and Kirk Oates to the committee that will make recommendations on the list of groups that have applied for the Spring Grant-in-Aid program. Five groups have applied for a total of $5,300 in grant money — only $2,500 has been budgeted for these spring grants and the same amount is budgeted for another round of applications in the fall. The groups who have requested money for this round of grants are: Ballenas Secondary Dry Grad Committee ($1,500), Oceanside Hospice Society ($2,500), Parksville and District Historical Society ($500), Parksville and District Musical Association ($300) and Ravensong Breakers Aquatic Club ($500).

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