Last Updated: July 26, 2010 10:42pm
Resource Conservation Manitoba launched a campaign Monday to ensure citizens’ concerns about malathion, buffer zones and other issues can be heard and properly considered before the province approves changes to Winnipeg’s mosquito control program.
The environmental lobby group has drafted a sample letter people can send to Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie urging him to thoroughly investigate proposed reductions in buffer zone size — which the letter refers to as “a reckless disregard for legitimate health concerns” — and other changes, including a reduced threshold to trigger fogging and a shortened period for notifying the public that fogging will occur.
“What (the government) needs to do is ensure there’s opportunity for public comment and a review of any changes to the pesticide permit,” said Josh Brandon, the living green co-ordinator at Resource Conservation Manitoba. “They’re going to be asking for some pretty major changes.”
Brandon said people have very serious concerns about malathion’s health effects and whether buffer zones smaller than the current 100 metres will offer adequate protection.
Last week Winnipeg city council approved a report recommending eight changes. Within minutes of the decision Blaikie sent a letter to the city indicating his support for change.
However, a spokeswoman for Blaikie said the letter indicated support for change only, and not for any specific recommendations.
The city must still apply to have its provincial pesticide application licence changed, she said, noting the city must outline more specifically what it wants from the province, including the size of buffer zones and its plans to better notify citizens if the notification period is reduced.
“The province will do a thorough review of any request by the city for a change to the mosquito control program,” the spokeswoman said, noting such a request has not yet been received.
It will be up to the city to conduct any public consultation prior to the application, she said, noting the “logical” place for consultation is prior to the request so the public’s opinion can be reflected in the application.
To view RCM’s sample letter, visit www.livinggreenlivingwell.ca/take_action/pesticides.