Whitefish Bay residents try to stop pesticide treatment – JSOnline

The village has had an experimental program at three other parks since 2006 in which it uses natural weed control measures. Grassman said the measures were “not successful.”

“There are as many weeds now as there were then,” he said Wednesday.

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Milwaukee County

Whitefish Bay residents try to stop pesticide treatment

By Tom Tolan of the Journal Sentinel

Sept. 22, 2010 6:00 p.m. |(5) Comments

Whitefish Bay officials, urged by residents opposed to the use of pesticides on village-owned lawns, will meet tonight to discuss whether to call off a planned weed and feed treatment at two parks Thursday.

Resident Nikki DeGuire, an at-home mom who says she and her kids use both parks and she’s concerned about the health risks of pesticides, says parents have been pulling their kids out of soccer practices and games at Cahill and Klode Parks, and a Brownie troop that was planning to meet at Cahill on Thursday is looking for an alternate site.

Some residents are talking about demonstrations if the spraying does go ahead.

Village Manager Jim Grassman said the Village Board is scheduled to meet at 7 tonight to discuss the pesticide application. It will refer the matter to a committee, which could make a recommendation that the board could then act on, he said.

The village has had an experimental program at three other parks since 2006 in which it uses natural weed control measures. Grassman said the measures were “not successful.”

“There are as many weeds now as there were then,” he said Wednesday.

The village set up an Environmental Advisory Committee this past spring to explore the issue further, and that body recommended last week that the village cancel Thursday’s pesticide treatments – or, failing that, not spray in areas used by children. But the matter was not on the agenda of the Village Board’s regular meeting Monday, so, Grassman said, two village trustees requested that Wednesday’s special meeting be called.

Anti-pesticide residents say that that request came after they raised the issue.

Some anti-pesticide residents are upset about the village’s response to the issue, and feel they’re being ignored, said DeGuire and resident Amy Joyce. There’s even a Facebook page, set up by one resident angry about pesticides and other issues as well, called “Whitefish Bay needs a new village manager.”

Shorewood, just south of Whitefish Bay, adopted a no-pesticide policy on village-owned land in spring 2010. Village Manager Chris Swartz says the Village Board there voted to keep it in effect at least through 2011.

Is the policy working?

“It does take a while before natural lawn care can be effective,” Swartz said Wednesday. “It doesn’t happen overnight. People have to understand you’re going to have weeds and dandelions and so forth.”

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