Anti-pesticide bylaw takes effect today


Toronto Globe and Mail, Ontario.
Thursday, April 1, 2004 – Page A11

The city’s new pesticide by-law, which takes effect today, aims to wean homeowners off using chemical products to kill lawn weeds and bugs.

With the bylaw, Toronto joins more than 66 other cities in Canada in using municipal rules to reduce — and in some cases ban — cosmetic use of legally sold pesticides.

“We know that residents can maintain healthy and attractive lawns without the use of cosmetic pesticides,” Councillor John Filion, chairman of Toronto Public Health, told reporters. “We’re looking for the buy-in of the public to make this bylaw successful.”

Yesterday, advocates and critics of the bylaw held dueling press conferences, each disputing claims by the other.

This year, the city will use a public-education campaign to inform residents about natural alternatives for ridding their lawn of dandelions and grubs. Enforcement, in the form of tickets and fines of $250, will not kick in until September, 2005.

“We’re giving homeowners two growing seasons to adapt to the change,” Mr. Filion said. “There is not any intention to be heavy-handed.”

Some key details of the bylaw still have to be worked out by city council in May. However, if it accepts a report from an 11-member advisory committee, there will be an effective ban on homeowner use of chemical products to kill off weeds.

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