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Steeves proposes halving malathion buffer zones

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A crew fogs for mosquitoes in a River Heights back lane in this file photo from 2013.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

A crew fogs for mosquitoes in a River Heights back lane in this file photo from 2013. Photo Store

Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves is going after mosquitoes.

Steeves said this morning he'd reduce buffer zones from 90 metres to 40 metres and would issue zones only for medical reasons.

"We're not living up to the expectations of our citizens on mosquito control," Steeves said, while speaking from a backyard on Dudley Avenue in Fort Rouge. "We're causing all sorts of problems in our community."

Steeves said Winnipeg summers are too short for the enjoyment to be ruined by individuals without valid reasons to be protected from spraying with buffer zones, which he said now stretch the length of a football field on either side of a property.

"I do not believe buffer zones should be allowed for political reasons, only for medical reasons," he said. "For the benefit of the greater good, choices must be made. The will of the larger majority should carry the day."

Steeves said he'll need the province's support to reduce the size of the buffer zones, adding Broadway should allow City Hall to determine the size of the buffer zones.

Steeves also wants to introduce city-wide aerial spraying - without buffer zones - to combat West Nile virus-carrying culex mosquitoes, which he said would only occur every four to six years when conditions warrant it.

A provincial government spokesman said the province did not want to get involved in the civic election but would consider a formal proposal from city hall.

"It's difficult to speculate on what the province might do based on what people say during an election campaign, but the province is always open to proposals that properly balance human wellness and environmental protection," the spokesman said.

History

Updated on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 9:09 PM CDT: Adds comment from provincial government spokesperson.

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