HRM Pesticide By-law Legislates Healthier Landscapes for All

Do you still serve toxic cocktails to your garden each season? A little insecticide for the roses perhaps? Maybe a few squirts of herbicide for those pesky dandelions in the lawn? Pesticide users who live within Halifax Regional Municipality are learning to change their ways. HRM has found legislation, coupled with an extensive educational program, to be important initiatives for encouraging residents to adopt alternative pest prevention and control techniques. Forty percent of all Nova Scotians live in HRM.

Last year, the first phase of the four-year pesticide by law program began with a ban on the use of pesticides on all municipal property. During Years 2 and 3, the ban extends to the use of cosmetic pesticides on residential properties located within a 50-meter radius of properties registered by people at medical risk, and schools, daycare centers, parks, senior citizens residences, universities or churches. One month after its initiation, the document listing registered “at risk” properties and those within their radius, was over 600 pages long. During Year 4 (beginning April 1, 2003) a general ban on the use of pesticides will apply to all properties in HRM.

Stephen King, the Manager and Senior Advisor for Parks and Natural Areas, reports that HRM is the first of any major city in North America to enact legislation of this type and is acting as a model for others. “We are getting electronic requests for information from all over North America, Ireland, and the U.K.”

The landscape industry is also adapting to the pesticide bylaw. “It dovetails with the integrated pest management approach that our organization has been upholding for many years,” said Michelle LaVigne, Executive Director for Landscape Nova Scotia Horticultural Trades Association. LNS members willingly supply information on the basic precepts to a healthy landscape, including good topsoil depth and the proper choice and location of plants.

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