Despite sparking heated debate around the council table, the Town of Qualicum Beach’s cosmetic pesticide bylaw is causing little stir in the flower beds outside.
The bylaw, passed on July 1 of this year, prohibits the application or use of pesticides for the purpose of maintaining outdoor turf, trees, shrubs, flowers, and other ornamental plants on public or private lands within the municipality.
Bylaw officer Don Marshall said the enforcement of the bylaw is dealt with on a complaint basis, but to date only one such complaint has been made — and that prior to the bylaw coming into effect.
“There haven’t been any complaints since,” Marshall said. “There has been very little reaction.”
However, this lack of complaints doesn’t mean the issue has withered. Far from it.
“We’ve had a lot of inquiries from landscapers about what can and cannot be used,” Marshall said. “Nobody has been angry, but they just want to be vigilant, do the right thing and comply.”
The Bylaw applies to anyone who uses pesticides on public or private land, except on the residential areas of farms; to buildings or inside buildings; and on land used for agriculture, forestry, transportation, public utilities or pipelines.
As well, Marshall noted there are some excluded pesticides that can be used within municipal boundaries. These include things like vinegar, insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, sticky traps, and diatomaceous earth. As well, insect pheremones, pyrethrins, insecticides used on pets, insect repellents, laundry additives and pruning paints. For a full list of the excluded products, visit qualicumbeach.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=2091.
The town passed the bylaw in response to repeated requests to do so from representatives of the Canadian Cancer Society and concerned citizens.
The move came as the Regional District of Nanaimo was considering their own pesticide bylaw, along with similar deliberations by the provincial government.