February 18, 2019

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Province open to reviewing buffer-zone practice

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/6/2010 (3161 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THE Selinger government is willing to re-examine the 28-year-old practice of placing pesticide-free buffer zones around Winnipeg homes during mosquito season, pending a city review of its mosquito-control policy.

On Wednesday, city council voted 13-1 to give the city's insect control branch just under one month to review pre-emptive ways to kill adult mosquitoes, the conditions required to begin fogging, the size and effectiveness of fogging buffer zones, alternative means of controlling mosquitoes and the insect-control practices in place in Grand Forks, N.D.

Regardless of the recommendations that come forward from the city's insect experts, the province must be consulted because Manitoba Conservation licenses the city's use of pesticides.

Manitoba Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie made it clear the province considers the city request entirely reasonable.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/6/2010 (3161 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THE Selinger government is willing to re-examine the 28-year-old practice of placing pesticide-free buffer zones around Winnipeg homes during mosquito season, pending a city review of its mosquito-control policy.

On Wednesday, city council voted 13-1 to give the city's insect control branch just under one month to review pre-emptive ways to kill adult mosquitoes, the conditions required to begin fogging, the size and effectiveness of fogging buffer zones, alternative means of controlling mosquitoes and the insect-control practices in place in Grand Forks, N.D.

Regardless of the recommendations that come forward from the city's insect experts, the province must be consulted because Manitoba Conservation licenses the city's use of pesticides.

Manitoba Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie made it clear the province considers the city request entirely reasonable.

"Given the fact the (buffer zone) policy goes back to 1982 and produces so much dissension, maybe there is some justification to have a look at it," Blaikie said in an interview.

"What we have is certainly not perfect. We certainly see there is justification for a review, but I don't want to prejudge the outcome of the city's own review."

Blaikie cautioned the province may not move on the buffer zone policy this year, if it moves at all. Mayor Sam Katz told reporters he believes there's a chance changes could be made this summer.

"In a perfect world, I hope we can get it done this year," he said outside his office. "I think you know as well as I do the province doesn't move that quickly.

With Winnipeg voters slated to go to the polls in October, reducing the size of buffer zones or eliminating them altogether would be a coup for Katz, who promised to do more to combat mosquitoes during his initial election campaign in 2004.

This summer, despite an initially successful larviciding program, heavy rains in late May created excellent conditions for another major emergence of nuisance mosquitoes. This prompted Katz to request a review of the city's entire mosquito-control policy, an idea most councillors support — but not all for the same reasons.

Fort Rouge Coun. Jenny Gerbasi, a pesticide opponent, voted for the review because she hopes it might allow the city to finally move forward from its delayed transition from chemical pesticides such as malathion to biological alternatives. An expenditure of almost $4 million on this transition has been put off until 2011.

"You can call yourself the mosquito mayor, the rapid transit mayor, the environmental mayor and everything else before an election, but nothing has changed in six years," Gerbasi said to Katz during a heated exchange on the floor of council.

The mayor nonetheless pledged to spend more money on mosquito control in the future, if the report coming in July recommends doing so. Controlling mosquitoes this summer was a challenge because of the weather, he said.

The only councillor who voted against the policy review was Elmwood's Lillian Thomas, who said pesticide opponents will erect barricades and throw rocks if buffer zones are eliminated and notification warning periods are reduced.

North Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty, meanwhile, argued the city should not wait for a report and should immediately ask the province for permission to eliminate buffer zones altogether.

A separate motion that focuses strictly on buffer zones, authored by St. Vital Coun. Gord Steeves, was directed to a June 28 protection and community services committee meeting.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

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