Outhit questions no spray decision
By BILL POWER Staff Reporter
Sun. Jun 20 – 4:53 AM
Coun. Tim Outhit wants the province to take a closer look at the Lyme disease threat at Admiral’s Cove Park in Bedford. (CHRISTIAN LAFORCE / Staff)
Health Minister Maureen MacDonald’s response to the Lyme disease threat at Admiral’s Cove Park had some people in Bedford ticked off Saturday.
Tim Outhit, the area’s regional councillor, called for a serious review of the blacklegged tick infestation at the park, which has been linked to at least six people in the area who have Lyme disease. An inordinate number of pets in the area have also been afflicted by the disease, he said.
“I have to say I believe the minister is misreading the seriousness of this situation,” the councillor said in an interview.
Outhit said many in the community were confused when the province cancelled a Halifax Regional Municipality plan to spray the park in an effort to eradicate the disease-carrying ticks.
MacDonald halted the plan Friday when she announced that the provincial Health Promotion and Protection Department would not approve the $15,000 insecticide spray plan.
Provincial and federal government approval was required before it could proceed because the insecticide involved — Dragnet — is not approved for use against the blacklegged tick in Canada.
“We have an actual human health risk here with this disease. This is not like an annoying mosquito bite or something,” Outhit said.
He planned on contacting the minister this week to ask her to review the plan.
Area residents are also hoping Ottawa will approve of a plan to set up deer-baiting stations near the park at the adjacent Department of National Defence property, Outhit said. The stations are used to apply a pesticide to the neck of the deer.
“These baiting stations have been effective where used in the United States, but they are not approved for use in Canada,” said the councillor.
A neighbour to the park who has lived with Lyme disease for about three years said the municipality should close the park until the appropriate government agencies get their acts together and come up with a solution to a problem that has dragged on for years.
Martin Maloney also called on the minister to reconsider her decision.
An encounter with ticks and Lyme disease prompted Maloney to educate himself on the issue. He said politicians and people who live near wilderness areas should do the same.
“The baiting solution works over a period of about three years. So the park will be risky over that period of time,” Maloney said.
Admiral’s Cove Park is known to attract partiers, especially on warm summer nights. Maloney said many of these young people are putting themselves at risk of getting Lyme disease.
“People don’t understand that once you have Lyme disease it is something you have to live with for the rest of your life. It never really goes away.”
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