City of Wanneroo adopts pesticide policy

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WANNEROO Council has adopted a pesticide management policy following consultation that raised concerns over herbicide and steam weeding options.

During public consultation, the City received seven submissions, three of which raised concerns about the use of glyphosate and called for a change to steam weeding.

However, a submission from Environmental Industries said the policy was balanced between being environmentally responsible and the commercial realities of running a large City.

“We have done a lot of work looking at treating weeds with steam,” maintenance manger Brendon Winterbourn said in the submission.

“At this stage I don’t believe the numbers add up unless it is being done simply for a public relations exercise.

“Our experience is it takes about three times as long and you need to do it twice as often as glyphosate.”

A submission from Friends of Yellagonga Regional Park chairman Kevin McLeod said herbicides were essential for dealing with grassy weeds in natural areas.

The Health Department’s submission said the policy must stipulate that contractors were licensed and held appropriate endorsements for required tasks.

“There is a growing awareness in the community regarding the use of pesticides for the control of pests and weeds in public areas,” the council report said.

“Weed control forms the main part of the City’s pest control program by using herbicides as the most common control method.

“The City considers both chemical and non-chemical methods based on the location, target, cost and practicality of applications.

“The draft policy ensures that the City meets its environmental, legal and community obligations for pesticide use on land it administers in a manner that is environmentally, socially an economically responsible.”

At the April briefing session, Councillor Linda Aitken said pesticide issues came up time after time at community meetings.

“Do we have a marketing strategy to let our community know that we are managing our use of pesticides safely?” she said.

Parks and conservation manager Grant Chettleburg said the City had a management plan to inform people when spraying would occur in their area, as well as putting adverts in community newspapers and information online.

Mr Chettleburg said staff could work with the communications team to get information out further.

The policy included community notification based on the principle that people living, working or visiting an area had a right to know when pesticides were being used there.

“Notifying people about pesticide applications means that they can make informed decisions about entering s public space,” the policy said.

Moving the recommendation at the meeting, Cr Dot Newton said it wasn’t an easy matter to deal with given the “sensationalism in America at the moment” over pesticide use.

Cr Newton said the products used were easily available in supermarkets and she was worried residents were not as careful as the City’s contractors when doing their own pest control.

Council unanimously adopted the policy, unchanged.

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