Hi folks, I am getting many calls and emails from concerned Ward Twovians about the notices for chemical spraying along the tracks this coming week. It is planned for the 24th and 25th, but I should tell you that with the many complaints, they have agreed to delay for one week the spraying of the most ‘sensitive’ areas. Many people are saying that RoundUp and the other chemicals being used are no longer viable or necessary in our community, and that the health risks are too high. The Guelph Youth Music Centre is right beside the tracks. They are very concerned as well, so I am working on a public meeting there next week. If you are interested in attending it will be either Wednesday or Thursday evening at 7:30 pm. If you would like to attend, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll provide the details when known. After raising some of your concerns with the GJR, I am copying the letter to you here from Peter Cartwright from City Staff who oversees the city involvement with the railway. Thanks Peter for your informative response. I hope to hear from you folks with your concerns.
Here’s the letter… hope this helps…. thanks … James
In response to the inquiries that you have been receiving regarding the weed and vegetation control that is planned for May 24th and 25th I can provide the following background information.
As you may know Guelph Junction Railway (GJR) is a federally regulated railway. Transport Canada regulations require railways to maintain tracks to Federal safety standards. The intent of the weed and vegetation control that has been communicated to the public is to allow GJR’s tracks to be properly inspected, repaired and maintained to Transport Canada standards. The intrusion of weeds and other unwanted growth can result in the deterioration and possible failure of rail beds and tracks. The existence of this vegetation may also cause fire (from engine wheel slip due to vegetation on rails), longer train stopping distances and/or poor site lines at trail crossings and roadways.
In the past GJR has endeavoured to use a bio-friendly liquefied starch to control local weed and vegetation, however this proved to be unsuccessful due to a combination of equipment problems and erosion of the material by rain.
Having stated this GJR still intends to experiment this year with this product and will be using it within those areas that are within 200 foot waterway buffers.
As mentioned within the public notice, which was provided as per the public communications protocol that was created in the May 12, 2011, Governance Committee Report (7A) titled ‘Guelph Junction Railway’s Vegetation Control Practices and Use of Herbicides’, the balance of the weed and vegetation control will use a greatly distilled mixture of Karmex, Overdrive and Round-up.
The application of the above referenced products will be done by the firm Green Stream, which is a provincially registered company and is responsible for all provincial approvals that are required for this work. Green Steam has secured from the Province of Ontario the required licensing and permits to use the noted herbicides.
The proposed scope of the application is as follows:
- The vegetation control will be restricted to only the 14 foot wide area directly over the rails and will not cover the entire width of the GJR property.
- The outside spray nozzles of the equipment that will be used to apply the treatment will be plugged off to eliminate over spraying beyond this area.
- While public access may occur one hour after the application, public access to trails and pathways will be closed for three hours.
- City of Guelph Parks staff have been advised of the work and have agreed to place closure signs at trail entrances to notify trail users.
- Additional signage will be installed by the contractor at all entrances and roadways to warn pedestrians and trail users.
- Additional ads will be placed in the local paper to give notice to trail users not backing onto the railway.
While I hope this response helps alleviate the issues that have been raised I can understand that your constituents may have further questions or concerns. Therefore GJR staff and the contractor would be pleased to meet with any concerned individuals.