Spraying Chemicals in the City

A resident in the Creighton park area with whom I spoke recently told me of an issue with the golf course using chemicals to spray their grass, while at the same time leaving residents guessing as to what pesticides and herbicides are being used, and when they will be used.

The resident is part of a family including young children.

It makes perfect sense to have rules that would at the very least require a business such as this golf course to inform residents of both their spray schedules as well as their choice of pesticides and herbicides.  This is bare minimum, and entirely fair.

Please understand, I am by no means anti-business.  If fact, the exact opposite.  Without a plan to create a fertile environment for new businesses to grow and develop, our municipality will be required to rely more and more on multinational big-box corporations and government for employment.  Without a plan to have businesses SAFELY integrated into our communities, we will end up creating more and more segregation between residential areas and areas with amenities (banking, shopping, health services, etcetera).  Without a certain level of residential and business integration in our communities, we will encourage more vehicle traffic and discourage “walkable communities”.

So, I support inner city businesses wholeheartedly!  But we must ensure the SAFETY of our residents!!

A quick anecdote…

During my 5 years in Japan, I lived in several apartments and also a house.  One of my apartments was right next to an industrial business that painted large metal parts that I believe were used in ship-building.  They spray painted with their windows open, and I observed the business carefully and it seemed like they didn’t even have a ventilation/filtration system for the paint.  On the railing and outside of my apartment door, there could be seen paint droplets, and the paint smell permeated the apartment whenever the windows were open.

I couldn’t believe that this business was allowed to operate in such a fashion.  And I thought, “This would NEVER happen in Canada!”

After a great deal of effort and research, the resident with whom I spoke stated that apparently the golf course is exempt from the normal municipal by-law that bans certain pesticides and herbicides, and there is no requirement for the business to communicate anything about their spray schedule and chemicals to adjacent residents.

It seems unfair to subject our residents to this.  Children are especially susceptible to chemical contamination, as are adults with certain health problems.  And even for an “average” healthy adult, being exposed to unknown chemicals is never a good idea.

At the very least, I believe it is fair to require businesses using chemicals adjacent to residential areas to be transparent and forthcoming with their chemical usage – both scheduling and content.

We should not compromise the SAFETY and HEALTH of our residents.

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