Coquitlam’s new green committee will start this spring with the most controversial environmental issue before the city: whether to ban cosmetic pesticides.
City council unanimously voted on Monday to send Coun. Selina Robinson’s motion to the Sustainability and Environmental advisory group — whose members have yet to be chosen — saying it wanted expert opinion on whether there should be a public policy on restricting pesticides and, if so, how a ban could be implemented.
A deflated Robinson shook her head through the debate, having brought a similar motion to council in 2009 to gauge feedback on pesticide use.
And she took aim at councillors Mae Reid and Linda Reimer, chairs the land use and environment committees, respectively, who “were not the least bit interested in hearing from the community 18 months ago when I first brought this issue to the table,” she said. “I don’t have the confidence to ensure the matter receives the attention it deserves.”
During question period, city council also took heat from members of the Tri-City Green Council and Coquitlam Council Watch, who pressed about the composition of the new committee, if council’s strategy was to delay the ban and how much more information was needed given that the Canadian Cancer Society backed Robinson’s motion.
Earlier, Coun. Brent Asmundson argued he wanted to hear from the advisory panel first — not impose the ban and have the group work out the details later, as Robinson suggested.
“If we are going to make decisions for the environment committee, then why have an environment committee?” he said. “To me, I mean, you’re already making the decision for them.”
Mayor Richard Stewart also defended council, noting it “isn’t abdicating its responsibility. I concur with those councillors who say it’s inappropriate to set [an environmental committee] up and make the environmental decisions without them…. I do want to get their advice,” he said.
Coun. Lou Sekora said if the committee recommends a ban, he would support it as long as it’s enforceable.
The committee has until June 30 to make its decision.
More to come…