Citizens for Alternatives to Roadside Spraying (CARS)
Cornwall ON – While once again this year the United Counties will spray poisonous chemicals on our roadsides, CARS is pleased to announce that progress has been made on improving the notification to the public of the spraying program. In 2009 the great majority of citizens were unaware of the spraying that took place on the County Roads. A single small advertisement placed weeks in advance, was all that was required, and most people thought that the Ontario cosmetic pesticide ban had stopped this unfortunate practice.
CARS has been working with the Ministry of the Environment to improve the notification process and had hoped for new regulations in advance of this years spraying season. In a gesture of “good faith” the Counties and their exterminator, Wagar & Corput Weed Control Inc., have agreed to implement many of the proposals made by CARS to the Ministry. This will mean that major intersections will have signage warning of the spraying program. These signs indicate that sprayings is occurring or has recently occurred and that residents should avoid these areas while the signs are in evidence. This is especially true for children, as the Ministry in its brochure “Going Pesticide Free” states: “As kids grow, their small bodies can be more sensitive to the effect of pesticides. And because they spend a lot of time playing outdoors, they have greater chance of coming into contact with harmful pesticides.”
CARS is also pleased that the spraying will avoid areas designated as “sensitive” and that the County has provided a detailed map of these areas to the exterminator. “No Spray” signs will be respected but they must be placed at both ends of the “no spray” section. Roadsides that have been mowed and maintained by local residents will not be sprayed.
CARS remains opposed to the practice of spraying which is only allowed under a “health or safety” exemption from the cosmetic pesticide ban to protect County employees who may be required to work on the roadside and members of the public who are engaged in the “Adopt-a-Road” program. CARS notes that the opinion of the medical community is overwhelmingly opposed to the use of these poisons and that many prominent medical organisations have advised the United Counties to abandon this practice. It also notes that in neighboring Counties with similar wild parsnip problems, no spraying takes place, and that none of the six municipalities that comprise the United Counties spray their municipal roadsides.
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