Esquimalt Helps Residents Reduce Pesticide Use

June 17, 2008

Esquimalt residents will soon have two opportunities to learn about safe alternatives to pesticides for lawn and garden care. Free workshops will be presented by the Society for Organic Urban Land Care Professionals (SOUL) and Gaia College, in partnership with the CRD’s Pesticide Use Reduction Education (PURE) working group and Esquimalt Parks and Recreation Services.

Esquimalt is in the process of adopting a Pesticide Use Reduction Bylaw. The new bylaw, scheduled for adoption later this year, will ban the use of non-essential pesticides on residential properties.  The workshops will help residents prepare for this change.

Christine Morissette, Director of Parks and Recreation Services, is quick to point out that “We are not asking residents to do anything that we [the municipality] are not doing already.” Esquimalt Parks has been using an integrated pest management approach in parks and on boulevards for years. And last year the Public Works department began treating weeds on sidewalks with high pressure steam rather than the herbicide Round-up, as was the former practice. Morissette adds, “There are lots of safe alternatives to pesticides for lawn and garden maintenance and the workshops will help residents learn more about them.”

Esquimalt is following recommendations from the CRD’s Roundtable on the Environment to reduce short-term and eliminate long-term non-essential use of pesticides in the Capital Region. Pesticides are herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides used to prevent, destroy, or repel noxious or troublesome organisms including weeds, insects, and rodents. Pesticides are harmful to the natural environment and can pose short and long-term risks to the health of people and pets.

The Pesticide Use Reduction Bylaw, which does not apply to commercial properties. The new bylaw will impose fines of up to $250 for pesticide use following a grace period of one year.

Residents can register at the door for these free workshops, which will take place in the Esquimalt Municipal Hall, Council Chambers (1229 Esquimalt Road):
Organic Gardening: Tuesday, June 24, 2008, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Organic Lawn Care: Saturday, June 28, 2008, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, please contact:

Andy Katschor
Manager of Parks Services
Phone: (250) 412-8508

Gilbert Cote
Director of Engineering and Public Works
Phone: (250) 414-7147