Last year the City of Fernie heard concerns from the public about the application of pesticides in public spaces and health. This year they are doing something about it!
This is the City’s news:
We understand the importance of healthy green space to our community and we are committed to maintaining the safety of turf areas and ensuring that dandelions and invasive weeds are controlled effectively. To assist us, we’ve contracted EnviroPerfect Solutions of Duffield, AB to develop a soils health care program for our turf and Kootenay Worm Composting of Baynes Lake will assist with application and overall management of the program. This three-year pilot project provides an organic method focused on improving soil health, better turf conditions and reduced need for pesticides on City properties.
Step 1 of the strategy will take place at the Max Turyk field on May 30th with an application of granular organic fertilizer and soil conditioners. This will provide nutrients for the turf as well as start to improve the nutrient and water retention in the soil. The fertilizer is completely organic, and the turf can be used immediately following application. An application of liquid organic conditioner will be applied in early July to encourage and support the development of a healthy soil food web.
Next, the program recommendation outlines the use of a pesticide treatment as a starting point to control excessive invasive or noxious weeds. Over the course of the program pesticide treatments may be required to drastically reduce heavy weed competition and allow for the turf to reestablish and thrive. “By building up soil health, it is expected that ultimately invasive weed growth will be diminished and the safety of field users will be increased” stated Parks and Facilities Manager, Brett Logan.
In accordance with the City’s Pesticide Use Control Bylaw, Council may issue an exemption for public lands to be treated with pestide where the integrity of the eco-system is threatened by infestation. Prior to any application of pesticide the measures laid out in the bylaw to ensure residents and users are aware of any potential spraying taking place will be adhered to. This includes written notice to residents on adjacent lots, informational signage placed 48 hours prior to and remaining in place 72 hours after application.
This project moves the City closer to achieving a healthier turf over time. The step-by-step process will be managed by the City in consultation with EnviroPerfect Solutions and Kootenay Worm Composting. The City remains committed to ensuring that our public spaces are safe and sustainable for long-term use and enjoyment and our significant investment in turf areas is protected.
The City is leaving the door wide open to use pesticide on infestations, however it’s a start to clean up our public spaces.