Give weed killer second chance, says councillor Adams wants ban on herbicide repealed
A Halifax regional councillor wants another whack at a dandelion killer.
"It’s good enough for the rest of the province, it’s good enough for the rest of the country, and HRM has decided, based on no logic, to ban it," Coun. Steve Adams (Spryfield-Herring Cove) said in an interview Sunday.
Adams is heading to city hall Tuesday to ask his fellow councillors to reconsider their recent ban of chelated iron herbicide, also known as FeHEDTA.
Regional council chopped the weed killer, sold in Nova Scotia stores as Scotts EcoSense Weed B Gon and Neudorff Fiesta Weed Killer, from its list of acceptable products by an 11-10 vote last month.
City staffers recommended council include the product, which is allowed by the province and Health Canada, on its permitted pesticides list.
The report passed through the city’s standing committee on environment and sustainability without a recommendation for or against.
In public debates leading up to council’s May 24 vote, area residents raised concerns about the herbicide’s effects on human health and risks to ground water or drinking water and local wildlife.
A staff report submitted to council states that there have been four incidents reported to Health Canada, including a cat that died, two dogs that suffered different reactions from two separate incidents, and grass killed by the product.
After comparing the product to other landscaping products on the municipality’s allowable product list, "staff did not feel there was a reasonable health risk present."
Councillors were advised that even if the municipality banned the product’s usage, it would still be available in stores because only the province can ban sales. Commercial applicators of the spot-treatment product "would be the primary groups restricted" by any municipally imposed ban, the report states.
When councillors were told that the city doesn’t use FeHEDTA, "the implication is, well, it’s good enough to approve but not good enough for the municipality, there must be something wrong with it. That’s not the case," Adams said.
"It’s expensive to use so that’s why we don’t use it."
Adams claimed councillors let emotions take over the debate, which he said was cut short. He said every council member who wants to speak on the issue should have an opportunity to do so, whether they agree with the ban or not.
But it’s not all about process.
"Look at the Roundabout, look at any public space we own — it’s absolutely disgraceful," Adams said.
"And it’s not a crime to want to have a property that looks good. It looks awful and it leaves a terrible impression not only for our residents but for tourists. It’s not a bad thing to get rid of dandelions."