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No to pesticide ban signs: retailer

Coquitlam's proposed bylaw to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides took another turn this week.

Coquitlam's proposed bylaw to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides took another turn this week.

Last week, city council granted an exemption to the Fraser Pacific Rose Society to allow it to use in-season chemicals until its Centennial rose garden at Dogwood Pavilion could transition to hardier, disease-resistant plants.

On Monday, councillors heard another plea - this time, from Paul Droulis of Canadian Tire, who asked council-in-committee to further tweak the policy by removing a stipulation that requires all retailers to post signs at check-out counters warning consumers that using cosmetic pesticides is illegal in Coquitlam.

Under the regulation, which has yet to be formally approved by council, Coquitlam vendors would be mandated to post a notice at every point-of-sale terminal as well as at every pesticide display. Failure to comply would result in a fine for the business.

Under the current provincial legislation, cities can't prohibit the sale of pesticides in stores and Droulis argued the city's bylaw for posting signs would put "undue pressure on retailers."

At his Maillardville store, which Droulis said sells nearly 50,000 products - many of which have environmental regulations attached to them but not requiring blatant signage - staff coach buyers at the point-of-sale on how to use and safely store products deemed as dangerous.

"We can have our store staff advise people of the city bylaw at the time [of purchase] and we'd love to," Droulis told the committee, adding it would "likely be much more effective than having signage, from my experience, that few people read."

Coun. Selina Robinson, who has championed the ban on cosmetic pesticides at council since 2009, said it was "refreshing" to hear about the actions the store is taking for consumer safety.

On Tuesday, Droulis told The Tri-City News he's pleased the city is taking steps to improve the environment but mandating signs for retailers goes too far. He said he did not know if all Canadian Tire stores had similar policies for point-of-sale consumer advice.

Council-in-committee made no decision after Droulis' presentation but Verne Kucy, Coquitlam's acting environmental services manager, said yesterday the Coquitlam managers of Home Depot and Rona will also be contacted for comment on the issue before council considers the fourth and final bylaw reading, likely next month.

If the bylaw is approved as written, Kucy said Coquitlam would be the only city in the province mandating signs at check-outs tills. In Richmond, such signs are voluntary for retailers, he said.

Coquitlam is one of the last Metro Vancouver municipalities to adopt a cosmetic pesticide prohibition. Port Coquitlam and Pitt Meadows enacted their policies last year while Port Moody imposed its ban in 2003.