Letter to the Editor – David Rawnsley of CARS – You Have Been Sprayed – May 29, 2010


Cornwall ON – It is once again our unfortunate duty to tell you that your County roadsides have been sprayed with a poison. This poison is banned from use on your lawns by the Provincial government because they have determined that it poses a risk to our children. The County may only use it because they assess the risk to their roads maintenance crew from poison parsnip as being greater than the risk to our children that the Province has identified.

In making their assessment of risk the Counties have not conducted a risk/benefit analysis. This is evidenced by the decision of the Regional Medical Officer of Health to request one from the Ontario Health Protection Agency. He can then advise whether it is appropriate to spray 800kms of roads with a banned-chemical to protect approximately 20 County employees from possible exposure to plants that can cause skin irritation.

No matter whether you agree with spraying the roadsides or not, I am certain that you will agree that it is the right of individuals to know what is being sprayed, where it is being sprayed and when it is being sprayed. If you are like most of us, then you are only now finding out that it is over, DONE!  Finished, with a flourish, on Victoria Day!

Why didn’t you know? – Because the legal obligation to “notify you” did not occur. The Counties and its Exterminator placed an advert in the Cornwall Standard Freeholder on April 30th. One advert, one day, one city newspaper; that is all it takes to notify you! Last year we almost missed it tucked away in the Glengarry News; this year we missed it because it was not in our local newspaper. Beyond that, strange little signs that simply said “Pesticide Use” were an indication that the road along which you were travelling with your children had been sprayed with this banned poison, possibly minutes ago. If you did not make the connection as to what the sign meant, you are not alone. The: who, what, where, and when are all missing with no phone number to find out what it meant.

Did any of you spot the unmarked spraying truck? Might signs on the truck not form some degree of notification? Our US cousins would have a second vehicle with flashing warning lights. Certainly you would want to let schools know of the spraying program so they could inform their students of what to avoid and you would not want to spray on a public holiday when the children were more likely to be around.

If you, like me, are incensed, then contact the Ministry of Environment and let them know that you were not notified. You may contact the Area Supervisor, Jason Ryan, at 113, Amelia Street, Cornwall, Ontario, K6H 3P1, or by e-mail at jason.ryan@ontario.ca, or by phone 1(800) 268-6060.

David Rawnsley

Citizens for Alternatives to Roadside Spraying

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)

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