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.)


  1. Our rights are very limited now. Obviously, the counties agree.

  2. Again spraying the roadsides at the exact time when ‘a species at risk of extinction’ our snapping turtles are laying their eggs in the very same roadside gravel areas. Surely these chemicals will affect these tender clutches of eggs. Shame, shame, shame-full! Also with all the hedge rows disappearing around farmers fields (hell I know farmers feed cities…but what about all the creatures that share this planet with us…WAKE-UP) our roadside ditches are the only biodiverse habitats left for many small animals and insects. Spraying kills all the broad leaf plants and flowers. Our bees are sure to be pizzzzed off. Yes…and so am I. We’ve all heard the old saying, ‘what goes around, comes around’ so we cannot expect that we can continue to dump chemicals; no let’s call a spade a spade, POISON into our environment without having it come back around to bite us in the a…….s.
    WAKE UP PEOPLE! I invite each of you to do something about it. Talk about it with your friends and neighbours. Call your city councillors (sorry Guys at 14K a year I hate giving you any more work to do) write to your MP and Environment Minister. If this concerns you in any way, sitting there complaining about it will accomplish nothing. Change will require postive, constructive action on your part. Make a phone call, write a letter. A small action by one person put together with the small actions of others can accomplish great things.

  3. Is this the same government who “determined” the HST and health tax were neccessary? There have been so many issues that combined are taking away our rights to free thought, this cradle to grave crap needs to stop.

    Where is the study to prove the claims?

  4. The truck was and is white. The atypical method for unknowingly dooping people while carrying out somewhat covert environmental atrocities.

    But David again this is relatively small fish in a big pond. Yes a concern but nothing many people will notice especially on a larger scale.

    If you are looking to make a difference, ask the Federal government about Eldorado Nuclear and the Uranium dump along Lake Ontario.

    If we set our goals high the smaller issues will fall into place

  5. Who is this eco chick?

    “our roadside ditches are the only biodiverse habitats left for many small animals and insects”

    May I suggest you travel out of the city and take a look in more non urbanized areas?

    “invite each of you to do something about it. Talk about it with your friends and neighbours. Call your city councillors (sorry Guys at 14K a year I hate giving you any more work to do) write to your MP and Environment Minister. ”

    Again they set their directives for the low hanging fruits.
    Our city councilors, MP and MPP will apply the minimum required efforts to fool people into believing they are acting in their best interest. Both federal and provincial representatives are nothing more then retirees earning a pension hoping to finally achieve something productive in their lives before the old folk’s home. The home they are expanding in Long Sault no doubt. The same home they are bums rushing into approvals.

    I am not sure if this Eco Chick is Jen or Elaine but wow I hope you are not our only hope for sustainability.

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