With a notice of motion a couple of weeks ago, Coun. Donovan Cavers planted the seed of a new pesticide ban for Kamloops.
On Tuesday, it wilted, with four of nine councillors supporting the ban.
Cavers’s motion called for a ban on cosmetic pesticides being used on residential lawns within City boundaries, and for a list to be created offering environmentally friendly alternatives.
He said the City should err on the side of caution in banning the chemicals used to kill dandelions and other weeds in lawns.
"A brief thought — that no one should ever have to worry about their children playing in the grass,” he said.
Coun. Tina Lange said there is lots of information available about how to have a beautiful lawn without any pesticides.
“You don't need it. They are poison. And I wouldn't spray my grass with those products and then allow my grandchildren to crawl around on it. Or dogs. That product is absorbed through your skin,” she said.
Coun. Arjun said the fact the UBC medical school department of pediatrics supports the ban gave him pause.
“It's a question of health. Bylaws aren’t enforceable all the time, but most people obey them.”
Mayor Peter Milobar was content with the current pesticide bylaw that limits spraying to licensed applicators.
It has led to a reduction in the use of products and people are content they can still have their yards treated, he said.
“It's not enforceable,” he said of the motion. “It takes away the option of the companies doing it properly. We're not banning the sale. No city in North America has routinely enforced it.”
Coun. Pat Wallace agreed, saying she used to run a turf farm and pesticides were a necessary part of the business.
Coun. Nelly Dever said the ban assumes homeowners don’t know how to read the label on a pesticide container.
“It’s an ignorant assumption to make. We need to be the voice of reason. They can follow the label directions and follow the bylaw.”
Coun. Ken Christian said the current bylaw puts the pesticides in the hands of professionals who are licensed. While smoking kills 5,000 people a year in B.C., between two and 10 die from pesticides.
Lange disagreed with his statistics, saying some groups like the Canadian Cancer Society assert that pesticides accumulate in the body.
And the pesticides are not a necessity of life, she said.
"Why would we not take one more bad thing out of our community? Most people are law-abiding citizens. If we say don't do something, most people won't.”
Those who voted in favour were Cavers, Lange, Singh and Coun. Nancy Bepple. Opposed were Milobar, Christian, Wallace, Dever and Coun. Marg Spina.