Our Response to Lanark County’s 2018 Spray Program

Starting in mid-May, Lanark County used Clearview herbicide along County roads in an effort to control wild parsnip. Once again, as for the two previous years, there has been insufficient notification of this program. The small ad in the local newspaper still left residents in the dark. As well, the opt-out options were not advertised. Those who signed onerous opt-out contracts last year were not notified that a renewal was necessary. Several individuals, including an organic farmer who opted out last year, had their properties sprayed without their knowledge. This was due, in part to a lack of communication from County and township public works departments.

This year, Lanark County initiated a different spray program to manage vegetation along the guardrails, several of them adjacent to water and significant wetlands. No notice was given that approximately 45 kilometres of guardrails would be sprayed. The guardrails were treated with two different herbicides, Arsenal Powerline and VP480. The active ingredient in Arsenal Powerline is Imazapyr and in VP480 the active ingredient is glyphosate. This is concerning since most of the sprayed guardrails had no wild parsnip, nor poison ivy and were sprayed during turtle nesting time. Lanark County is home to several species of turtles, several of which are threatened. An inspector from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change visited several of these sites and is reviewing the situation.

Last year, members of Friends of Lanark County met with Public Works to suggest that all areas where County roads intersect with water be mapped out and protected from herbicidal spraying, and that wild parsnip at those locations be controlled manually by volunteers or staff. The new spray program along the guardrails appears to disregard resident concerns to keep pesticides away from our waterways.

Eileen Barbeau, a member of the Friends of Bolingbroke Road Adopt a Road Group, commented,“In the recent press release by Lanark County, no mention is made of the labour-intensive manual control program that is being undertaken by numerous volunteers. The Adopt-A-Road program involves residents who provided and are still providing many hours of labour in this regard. They are the ones using the alternative management strategies that protect our water and our pollinators. They not only remove parsnip, they are also required to pick up the litter along their section of the roadways.”

These hardworking people are not acknowledged in the County’s Press Release.

The press release describes spot spraying methods, however this term requires clarification. Does this mean spraying individual plants from a backpack or does it mean spraying larger areas with a wand which also kills all of the plants in the area. This year’s “spot spraying” was clearly the second description, which resulted in damage to broadleaf plants including milkweed and clover.

As far as lack of success in previous years of mowing, repeated, targeted and well timed mowing was not attempted. Instead of giving money to out of area contractors and pesticides manufacturers from the United States why not hire local people to manage vegetation with equipment and manual techniques?

Lanark County encouraged the townships to join their program and several of the participating townships boom sprayed their roads this year. Did these townships reduce their use of herbicides? The combined chemical burden on aquatic life, pollinators and insects needs to be considered.

Until the Vegetative Management Plan is overhauled and guided by a mission statement based on environmental protection with zero contamination, Lanark County cannot become a leader in environmental stewardship. Individuals concerned about our community often wonder what they can do to be heard. Local elections are coming up. Residents can use this opportunity to challenge candidates on where they stand and they can decide who they will vote for.

Lanark Highlands will not be joining the County’s spray program!

Your voices were heard. Thanks to everyone who were involved in moving this forward, in the last 3 weeks or as far back as 2016.

The residents of Lanark Highlands owe a debt of gratitude to the four Councillors, Bill King, Pete Rodger, Steve Roberts and Jeannie Kelso who chose the precautionary principle over spin and voted not to join Lanark County’s pesticide spray program.

Pro spray presenters, with their amped up messages via slide shows and overtime presentations failed to influence them nor did they adequately address their concerns. It was a polite and articulate beekeeper, Jonny de Matos who drove home the truth of the risk residents were being asked to accept. If other forms of livestock were as susceptible to poison as his are perhaps spraying advocates would be less cavalier.

What was most surprising was that our Medical Officer of Health stated, after being questioned by Councillor KIng, that the main reason for controlling parsnip was about threats to farmers, not public health. For more details of the discussion, pick up the Lanark Era next week.

Using at least four different and persuasive arguments to reject pesticide-based controls, Lanark Highlands Councillors connected the dots between inadequate testing, rising rates of illness paralleling rising pesticide use, and uncertainty over whether chemical controls will ever be more than a slippery slope to stronger and stronger pesticides. They represented your concerns.

Mayor Brian Stewart, Deputy Mayor John Hall and Councillor Linda Hansen voted for spraying.

Please continue to speak up for the environment, through your everyday actions and through the political process. Send your councillor a message, either now or at election time.

Understanding the bigger picture of invasive plants and the role they play and our attitudes towards their control is complex. More on that later.

But for now it’s a good day.

(now on to documenting the herbicide damage at guardrails adjacent to our wetlands, honestly what are they thinking?)

Sonia

Feb. 6 meeting & vote in Mississippi Mills well attended

After hearing from Paul Lacelle representing the Lanark County beekeepers, a local conventional farmer, Dr. Paula Stewart and Dr. Meg Sears, Mississippi Mills Council voted to leave most of the roads unsprayed and will do any necessary spraying with Clearview where the wild parsnip is affecting agricultural lands. Opt out options for organic farmers were not discussed. It was evident that many of the councillors had considered the many emails that had been sent to them and asked sensible questions. One question did hit the mark and that was asked by Councillor Wilkinson. She asked the Chief Medical officer why they should consider spraying a herbicide onto ditches if Clearview is not supposed to be applied near water. Thank you Councillor! We also heard from Dr. Stewart that if the herbicide did get into our wells, it would only be a “tiny, tiny bit”.

See Dr. Sears’s presentation here.

One more year of spraying is given the green light!

November 15, 2017 One more year of spraying is given the green light! Lanark County Councillors vote to stop all discussion of roadside spraying until after the election!
Lanark County Public Works requested another year of spraying. This will include spot and boom spraying, depending on their spring audit of wild parsnip plants.  Councillor Keith Kerr, John Fenik, Shaun McLaughlin and John Gemmell voted against.
To our surprise, councillors shut down all discussion of this issue at the county council meeting in November 15 2017. We question whether or not they can do this.
MOTION#PW-2017-07
 
“That the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Vegetation Management Plan and any further discussion of this topic of roadside spraying not be revisited during the term of office.”
Most of the councillors voted for this motion except for Keith Kerr ( who asked for a recorded vote) Louis Antonakos, Jerry Flynn, Jane Torrance and Shaun McLaughlin. 

Lanark County voted to deny Tay Valley’s request to halt the spraying

MAY 28, 2017 — Friends of Lanark County is disappointed that — given the opportunity to reverse the decision taken at its last meeting County Council denied Tay Valley’s request not to spray on the County roads that pass through Tay Valley.

On a weighted basis, it was 52 votes supporting Tay Valley’s wishes, 54 denying them their request. The vote was recorded: the people who voted against Tay Valley’s wishes were: Councillors Stewart and Hall, Lanark Highlands; Councillors Dobson and Van der Meer, Montague; Councillors Kidd and Mousseau, Beckwith; Councillor Antonakos, Carleton Place; and Councillors Churchill and Code, Drummond/North Elmsley.

Because of resident concerns, warning signs will be posted after spraying. Individual notices for people who live on the spray route will not be available.  In the meantime be watchful of roads near you that are slated for spraying. If you see culverts and hidden streams that are on the spray route contact public works to let them know.  To report an pesticide incident such as a health reaction, spraying near water or on a windy day please send an email to the MOE inspector Meghan.Brien@ontario.ca and tor.rustad@ontario.ca. Check the County’s website URL for daily updates http://www.lanarkcounty.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=7402 .
We encourage people to still try to submit their opt out requests to the County or their township public works department to see if you can be accommodated.

 

Here is how the vote went:

COUNCILLOR
VOTE Points
Vote For
Vote Against
Points For
Points Against
District
Position
Hall, John
7
0
1
0
7
Lanark Highlands
Deputy Mayor
Stewart, Brian
7
0
1
0
7
Lanark Highlands
Mayor
McLaughlin, Shaun
10
1
0
10
0
Miss Mills
Mayor
Torrance, Jane 
10
1
0
10
0
Miss Mills
Councillor
Dobson, Bill 
3
0
1
0
3
Montague
Reeve
Van Der Meer, Klaas 
3
0
1
0
3
Montague
Deputy Reeve
Fenik, John 
5
1
0
5
0
Perth
Mayor
Gemmell, John 
5
1
0
5
0
Perth
Deputy Mayor
Kerr, Keith 
7
1
0
7
0
Tay Valley
Reeve
Campbell, Brian 
7
1
0
7
0
Tay Valley
Deputy Reeve
Kidd, Richard 
6
0
1
0
6
Beckwith
Reeve
Mousseau, Sharon 
6
0
1
0
6
Beckwith
Deputy Reeve
Antonakos, Louis 
8
0
1
0
8
Carleton Place
Mayor
Flynn, Jerry 
8
1
0
8
0
Carleton Place
Deputy Mayor
Churchill, Aubrey 
7
0
1
0
7
Drummond/North Elmsley
Reeve
Code, Gail 
7
0
1
0
7
Drummond/North Elmsley
Deputy Reeve
TOTAL
106
7
9
52
54
RESULT
49%
51%

Roadside Herbicide Spraying is Coming!

Are you Ready For Spraying?
Are you Ready For Spraying?

What can you do if you don’t want your roadsides sprayed?
If you live in:
Drummond-North Elmsley Township: Call Scott Cameron (613) 267-6500 anrequest a “No-Spray” sign.

• Montague Township: Call (613) 283-7478 and request a “No-Spray” sign.

• Township of Lanark Highlands: You have 3 options (www.lanarkhighlands.ca for more information):

1. Adopt a Road. A program where groups(minimum 3 individuals with insurance) canenter into an agreement with the township to complete various vegetation management activities. This carries a 2-year term.

2. No Spray Agreement. An agreement between the Township and a landowner (occupant) who takes vegetation control actions to control noxious weeds within the road allowance adjacent to their lands.

3. Call Tom McCarthy (613) 259-2398, ext. 239 and ask not to be sprayed due to extenuating circumstances.

Examples of extenuating circumstances may include:
• A member of your household has health reasons which would be negatively impacted by spraying (Residents should not be asked to give any details because health matters are private information.)

• You are an engaged in organic agriculture and your property would be negatively impacted by spraying.

Don’t Delay!

• Drummond-North Elmsley and Montague Township residents can get a “No-Spray” sign by calling the numbers listed above.

• All Lanark Highlands residents wanting “extenuating circumstances” exemptions must request them before Thursday May 18, 2017. by calling Tom McCarthy (613) 259-2398, ext. 239 and asking not to be sprayed due to extenuating circumstances. Friends of Lanark County.

Where are they spraying in Montegue and Drummond North Elmsley?

Drummond North Elmsley Roads To Be Sprayed

Road Name Side of Road From To
BOOM SPRAYING
Armstrong Rd both Burns Road PIN 915
Carroll Rd west side CPR Tracks Scholton Road
Carroll Rd west side Kelly Jordan Rd Ferguson Tatlock Rd
Code Road both Drummond Conc 5B Tennyson
Drummond Conc 1 both County Rd 43 Ebert Rd
Drummond Conc 1 both Richardson Side Rd Burns Rd
Drummond Conc 4D both Code Road The Old Rd
Drummond Conc 5B (E of Hwy 7) both HWY 7 Code Rd
Drummond Conc 5B (E of Hwy 7) both Tennyson Road Dead end
Drummond Conc 5B (W of Hwy 7) both Richmond’s Rd Dead end
Drummond School Road both Conc 7 HWY 7
Elmsley Crescent both Rideau Court Otty Way
Frizzel Rd both County Rd 43 go 500m south
Hands Road both Tennyson Road Drummond Conc 2
Hudson Road both Conc 4B Wayside
Leaches Road both Drummond Conc 5B Tennyson
Moore’s Rd both Drummond Conc 1 County Rd 43
Otty Way both Elmsley Crescent Trillium Dr.
Rathwell Rd both County Rd 43 Right Angle Turn
Rideau Court both Elmsley Crescent Dead end
Tennyson Road both Drummond Conc 7 Hwy 7
Wild Life Rd (E of Cty Rd 1) both Cty Rd 1 go 500m east
Wild Life Rd (W of Cty Rd 1) both Otty Lake Side Rd go 1 km east

Montague Township Roads To Be Sprayed

Road Name Side of Road From To
BOOM SPRAYING
Rainbow Valley Drive Both Highway 43 End
Rideau River Road Both Highway 43 Highway 43
Wood Road Both Rosedale Road McCrea Road
McCrea Road Both Wood Road Highway 43