Pesticide ban comes into effect

Already implemented in most areas; Use of insecticides, fungicides, herbicides for aesthetic purposes prohibited outdoors

The gazette

April 27, 2005

A bylaw banning the use of pesticides for aesthetic purposes came into effect across Montreal yesterday.

"We want kids to be able to roam free in the grass," said Alan DeSousa, the city executive committee member responsible for the environment.

"People want a safe and healthy community."

Although the bylaw officially came into force yesterday, 25 of Montreal's 27 boroughs already implemented it last spring after it was adopted by the city council.

Only the Ville Marie and Kirkland boroughs waited until this spring to enforce the bylaw.

The bylaw bans the outdoor use of pesticides, including insecticides, fungicides and herbicides.

Maximum fines for breaking the bylaw are $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for corporations.

Residents can obtain a permit to spray, however, if their lawn or trees become infested, or if they have to control rats, mice or spiders.

Pointe Claire borough mayor Bill McMurchie said the bylaw, which his borough implemented last year, is tougher than regulations his former city has had on the books in the past 10 years.

"This is a complete ban. In the past we had a controlled ban, meaning people could spray at certain hours," he said.

Environmentalists said yesterday they are thrilled with the new bylaw.

"It is excellent. The measures protect the public from this chemical onslaught," said David Fletcher, vice-president of the Green Coalition.

The bylaw permits the use of pesticides on golf courses and bowling greens, although it requires a five-metre buffer zone between those areas and neighbouring properties.

The use of mineral soaps, insecticidal soaps and other materials classified as biopesticides by the federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency are also permitted.

DeSousa said, however, he doesn't believe people will wilfully defy the bylaw.

"It is the residents who have been asking for tougher bylaws," he said.

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