‘Safer’ weeding method proposed

The council has deferred a decision on the use of glyphosate on hard surfaces.
The council has deferred a decision on the use of glyphosate on hard surfaces.

Dr Marjorie Apthorpe addressed councillors about a trial of weeding methods she said was promised in early 2013, following a motion she moved at last year’s annual general meeting.

Mayor Troy Pickard said when the report regarding the motion came to council in February 2013, it stated the City had already conducted a hydrothermal weed control trial in 2009.

He said the report of that trial was presented to the council in December 2009 and councillors had noted ‘hydrothermal was the least effective and most expensive method of controlling weeds’.

Dr Apthorpe said she was told on February 9, 2013 that a weed control trial ‘was in the planning stage and it would be carried out during the current year’.

‘I am aware of the 2009 herbicide trial, I am aware it was carried out by a person having a financial interest in the methods being evaluated and I was requesting the City conduct a new impartial trial,’ she said.

Mr Pickard said the council report from February 2013 said nothing about having another trial.

Dr Apthorpe moved the motion for the City to change from herbicide spraying to hydrothermal spraying in all children’s playgrounds, parks, public pathways, verges, beach access ways, carparks and median strips.

‘The dangers of herbicide use have been becoming progressively more evident and more published in the scientific literature in the last four years,’ she said.

‘Daily, in summer, I watch people walking their children barefoot through sand that has been sprayed with glyphosate and I see them walking their dogs through the same sand.’

Des Broad, a resident of the City for 18 years, also spoke at the meeting to complain about the councillors’ salaries.

‘People say they do a lot of work,’ he said. ‘I find it rather difficult to do a civic job and ask for $30,000 a year so I wonder how this is allowed to be carried on.’

He said his annual income was less than that and he lived on it comfortably.