BASSENDEAN Council has voted to keep its glyphosate ban on hard surfaces and use steam weed treatment to kill its reputation as ‘Weed City’.
The decision came after heated debate at the May 23 council meeting, with deputy mayor Mike Lewis arguing strongly against banning the controversial chemical.
Officers recommended to rescind an April 2016 motion to suspend the use of glyphosate on hard surfaces.
However, Cr Bob Brown put forward an alternate motion to reinstate the suspension, which was passed 4-2 – with Mayor John Gangell and Cr Lewis voting against.
The motion also included funds being allocated in the existing budget to clean-up outgrown weeds using non-chemical treatments and to include $130,000 for steam weed treatment on hard surfaces in the 2017-18 budget.
While arguing against the ban, Cr Lewis said there were “smart and dumb” ways to solve a problem.
“I was very proud of Bassendean in the last six years but in the last six to 12 months it has been ‘Weed City’,” he said.
“I am all for safety but in this world there is poison around, which needs to be managed.”
Cr Renée McLennan, who was on the verge of tears, said she had been “disillusioned” by the debate.
“I am not going to make decisions based on money,” she said.
“We are not being responsible for people if getting rid of weeds is more important than people’s health.”
Cr Gangell said there was not enough funding available in the budget for steam weed treatment, which would cost at least $130,000.
Resident and Alliance for a Clean Environment spokeswoman Jane Bremmer said council needed to consider the loss of green infrastructure and public health caused by glyphosate use.
Bassendean resident Nonie Jekabsons, who addressed council at the meeting, said glyphosate use at Bindaring Park had become less effective for controlling weeds like fleabane.
In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans.
According to an officer report, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority advised the Town it completed its assessment of the IARC report and found glyphosate did not pose a cancer risk to humans.