Homeowners and city staff will have to do their own weeding come spring under recommendations adopted Monday, February 23, by the board of health as part of phase one implementation of the city's controversial pesticide bylaw. Lawn bowling clubs, sports fields and golf courses may use pesticides under certain conditions. And while cemeteries may get some exemption to keep insects from eating the rose beds, they, too, will be denied use of chemical weed-killers.
Serious enforcement will only begin in September 2005. Still, there was no shortage of industry types at the board of health meeting willing to say just about anything to keep the board from approving the first phase of the pesticide plan. Whatever their views, nearly every speaker claimed to be representing Average Joe Gardener.
"You're going to leave the citizens of Toronto as third-class citizens," said a lawn care industry representative about the complete ban on chemical weed-killing for homeowners.
John Ladds of Turf Management Systems Inc. argued that the board of health is trying to inflict its belief in the beauty of dandelions on the public at large.
"This report is in essence an extremist document," said Ted Paul, owner of Delesco Weed Control. "We will have homeowners spraying their lawns at night."
Teri Yamada of the Royal Canadian Golf Association argued that "a golf green is similar to the surface of a billiard table," and for her group a weed-free golf green is "non-negotiable."
"Weeds are totally unacceptable to our families," added the CEO of the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries.