Petition calling for elimination of Garlon use nets over 500 signatures

SPRING BAY—With over 500 signatures on a petition calling for the elimination of Garlon being used to remove trees and shrubs, Central Manitoulin resident Petra Wall will now be taking this information back to municipal council.

“There is a total of 518 signatures on the petition, with the large majority from Central Manitoulin, some  from Toronto and other places,” Ms. Wall told the Recorder on Tuesday. “But there are some people who signed, like my daughter, who lives in Vancouver but pays property taxes in Central Manitoulin that signed the petition.”

The petition which had been displayed in half a dozen locations in Central Manitoulin reads: “Petition to eliminate the use of Garlon to remove trees and shrubs: We are asking the provincial government to allow communities to regain control of chemical spraying on ‘Rights of Way’ for Hydro One. Central Manitoulin will be  part of a coalition with Tehkummah, Billings and Assiginack that will seek to declare the municipality ‘pesticide free’ for use of Garlon RTU and other Garlon variants and similar herbicides in vegetation management on Hydro One Rights of Way. Garlon RTU’s active ingredient is Triclopyr. Knowledgeable scientists say its persistence in the ground is at least one year and they are not clear about the long-term effects of this chemical in our food and water supply.”

The petition continues, “Canadians have been kept out of the loop for too long. We have a right to clean air, water, soil and forests. We need to respect and protect this beautiful land and all of it’s amazing plant and animal  life.” As well it is noted, “Central Manitoulin wishes to bring back the bees. Part of that initiative is reducing chemical spraying of toxins. With several municipalities passing motions for toxin control.”

As was reported earlier this summer by The Recorder, prior to Central Manitoulin council or its safety security and health (SSH) committee taking a formal stance in pursuing the province in regards to restricting Garlon spraying in the municipality, the committee requested Ms. Wall, one of the proponents who brought the concerns forward, to put together a petition asking local residents if they are in favour of restricting Garlon as a method used by Hydro One to remove trees.

This comes after concerns had been raised by several local citizens and Garlon’s use being defended by Hydro One representatives on the spraying of trees in the municipality at a meeting earlier this spring.

“The next step is to take this petition and the signatures to Central Manitoulin council to hopefully pass a motion or at least put together a letter of intent to move this initiative forward,” said Ms. Wall, who said she is planning to attend a council meeting in October. It was pointed out the limitation of Garlon use was taken out of municipalities’ hands and is under provincial control.

“I will bring this petition and the signatures to council,” said Ms. Wall. “I think and hope council will agree  to at the very least send a strongly worded letter to Queen’s Park, voicing their concerns on this.”