Kamloops landscapers adjusting to pesticide by-law

By Chad Klassen
March 11, 2016 - 4:59pm Updated: March 11, 2016 - 6:33pm

KAMLOOPS — It's been nine months since Kamloops City Council voted 5-4 in favour of a new pesticide by-law. It's now officially in effect, restricting businesses and residents from spraying pesticides to control weeds in their lawn and gardens.

WATCH: Full story by Reporter Chad Klassen

Some councillors argue it's an impossible by-law to enforce, but companies have to be in compliance. Now, as the weather warms up and landscapers start the year, they're having to adjust their practices.

"Moving forward, obviously there's a couple of products we can use. We can use horticultural vinegar and stuff like that," says Pronto maintenance manager Corey Munegatto. "It doesn't work to the same extent as some of the other chemicals that we could use, even just last year. But it's going to be a trial season."    

It's all about the manual labour, having to pick weeds by hand and use a hoe. The extra time it takes will ultimately cost people more to have their yards maintained. 

"It could double or triple just us being there to hand-pull some of the weeds, depending on the area," says Munegatto. "If your site was a $50 spray, it could easily turn into a $150 spray."

A big adjustment for companies like Pronto has been the education, making people aware of the by-law who otherwise didn't know about it.

"We've been writing letters to all our clients with their spring renewals, so they know what's happening this season as well. To be honest, some people don't care about the ban and they just want us to spray anyways, and obviously that's not something we're willing to do."

While Pronto will adjust to the new by-law, the future is unknown for companies like Grassroots Choice Lawn Care. Last summer when the by-law was passed by City Council, owner Jacquie Doherty said she would be out of business. 

As of now, she's keeping all staff, with some renewals early in the season. But with few alternatives to pesticides, Doherty says there could be a slowdown, and staff may be cut to part-time at some point this summer.

The real test, though, will come in a month when landscapers start caring for lawns. 

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