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?)