Letter to Mayor and Council:
I was very disappointed, but not overly surprised, to read in the Apr 3rd. issue of the Guelph Tribune, that Guelph city-council plan on having an out right ban on pesticide usage for residential lawns. I wonder if this decision was a political one or a scientific one. My guess is that it is purely political.
As a long time resident of the fine city of Guelph, I have taken pride in maintaining my home and property in a neat and environmentally friendly state. I maintain a fair sized garden and small pond, and a 5 cu yd. , 3 section, compost bin, but I also keep a well manicured lawn. To keep the lawn, I use water sparingly as per the Guelph water wise program, and use chemicals sparingly. This has allowed me to keep it free of noxious and other weeds. (read:native plants by some) The chemicals are applied sparingly by a licensed firm, who follow the Provincial guidelines for such applications. I feel they would know more about this than any city- councilor. And keep in mind that as a profit making enterprise, this company would not apply any more chemicals than is absolutely necessary, so as to reduce their expenses.
I also read in the same issue of the same paper that according to Ron Schiedel of the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation, that banning the use of pesticides along with the strict water restrictions in force in Guelph will increase the invasion of weeds into my lawn. This, to say the least, is very disturbing and frustrating.
I have not read where proper application of any of these chemicals has caused any harm to persons or property in Guelph. I have not read where it is even close to entering the water table. I have read where most of the chemicals are used up by the lawns and the balance will be absorbed into a thin layer of top soil.
I do read where this may enter the water table or may have harmful affect to the population, especially those with Asthma. But as I stated before, I have not read where this has actually caused any of these side effects. Being a little harsh here, people can choose to walk where the lawns are brown and full of weeds, but I cannot move my lawn.
People in favour of the banning of pesticide usage always refer to the cosmetic appearance of lawns. This is not completely true. Although I do appreciate the appearance of a lush green lawn as apposed to a weed infested brown lawn, a very large reason for the weed control is to also keep the weeds out of my garden. I also realize that some residents don’t care about the appearance of their property in particular their lawns and or gardens. That is their choice and they don’t have to and they certainly don’t appear to use pesticides. I, on the other hand, do care and do therefore want the option of using pesticides when required.
If you recall, it was not that many years ago that these same people complained about the noxious weeds in the city and residents were forced to cut them down or remove them by some other way. That was when pesticide usage really started to take off, as it was found that manual weeding was not effective.
It seems to me that the only ones who comment on this issue or show up at council meetings are the special interest groups, who for what ever reason feel they have to control every one in this fine city.
I strongly urge you therefore to re think this discision, and allow Guelph to remain green and weed free. I am sure that the majority of home owners (Note: not apartment dwellers or tenants) will agree that a green lawn, weed free is better for the environment and better for the natural attraction of Guelph. CW