Posted On: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
To Council of the Town of the Blue Mountains
I am here tonight to ask Council to not renew the contract to spray the toxic pesticide Truvist on the road allowances. The contractor uses a truck and boom to broadcast the spray and although you will be told that they are spot spraying for wild chervil that is not what's happening.
Over the 5 years that Truvist has been applied, the wild chervil has for the most part been eradicated on the road allowances. The source of the reseeding of Wild Chervil is no longer the road allowances, but the unmanaged wild chervil that is allowed to grow and go to seed on farmland and private property. On June 9, 2019 I took this picture on my road the 10th line. As you can see the edges of this cultivated field are filled with wild chervil. There was no wild chervil in the road allowance abutting this field.
I'm pleased that the Agricultural Advisory Committee is now supporting the education of the entire community so that wild chervil on private property is dealt with. Mike Cowbrough the chief weed inspector for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs writes " If control is only enforced on roadsides but not on the land abutting the agricultural fields then it undermines any control efforts that have been implemented."
Not many are aware of the properties of Truvist or the very strict protocols for applying this very toxic herbicide so I have included the link to the Bayer Label
Truvist is toxic to aquatic organisms and most of the road allowances in the Town have ditches that drain into our local streams and rivers. Truvist can leach into groundwaters and contaminate our wells. Truvist kills everything but grass including trees, shrubs, wildflowers that feed our pollinators and any other vegetation it comes in contact with, both on the surface and where it leaches into the ground and reaches roots of desirable vegetation that extend near or into the ground under the road allowance. Equally concerning is the damage that can be caused by runoff. Truvist kills crops such as but not limited to peas, potatoes, soybeans, alfalfa, grapes, and vegetables. Truvist kills everything but grass.
I ask this Council to stop the broadcast spraying of Truvist with a truck and boom on road allowances, and instead if necessary use a portable pack on foot to truly spot spray where required. I watched Grey County personnel do this on 119 west of the 10th line. I understand that we are getting a dedicated weed inspector who will be able to map these areas on the road allowances when he (or whoever is assigned) is investigating the presence of wild chervil on private property. It will also lead to a more timely application of the pesticide, taking advantage of the required weather when the wild chervil is at the right stage in its growth. It will mean licensing someone to do the spraying over a 2 to 3 week period and will save on hiring an outside contractor.
Please stop the broadcast spraying of Truvist on the road allowances. The spraying poisons the space where we walk, where our children and grandchildren walk, where we walk our dogs. In rural residential Town of the Blue Mountains we don't have sidewalks.
I had not received any response to my deputation so I sent a note to council on January 22 asking for a response. On February 5 I got this reply from Shawn Carey, Director of Operations:
"I understand that the use of Truvist is a standing agenda item for the Agricultural Advisory Committee and is still under consideration regardless of operating budgets.
Having said that, the Town is holding a public meeting on March 9, 2020 for additional input and comments on the draft 2020 budget. "
I've been reading the draft budget and cannot find a line for weed control. Shawn Carey confirms that $20,000 was spent on Truvist spraying in 2019.
My understanding is that the contract to spray Truvist on the road allowances was for 1 year 2019 with the option to extend for 2 more years - 2020 and 2021. This would make a total of 7 years, spraying poison for no reason at all.
Please help to end this unnecessary spraying by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (town clerk) or call Corrina at 519-599-3131 ext. 232. You can also email all council members at email@example.com , and Shawn Carey the Manager of Operations at firstname.lastname@example.org. His phone # is 519-599-3131 ext. 260.
Thank you for your help