Use of cosmetic lawn and garden pesticides on private property is on the way to being banned in Port Coquitlam after city council approved the first three readings of a new bylaw Tuesday night.
If fourth reading is approved, stiff penalties of up to $10,000 could be levied in extreme cases against those who use lawn chemicals deemed bad for the environment and unsafe for human health. A typical ticket would be in the range of $100 to $300 and would only be doled out after a verbal and written warning.
But while the penalties are steep, Mayor Greg Moore said he believes education will be the key to successfully removing garden chemicals from the city's environment.
"We always want to show leadership," he said. "It is more about raising awareness of these chemicals and telling people there are other ways to do it."
Despite PoCo's planned ban, Moore still believes the provincial government should pass legislation prohibiting garden chemicals. With different municipalities taking up the cause, a patchwork of pesticide regulations now exists in the Lower Mainland, allowing the chemicals in some jurisdictions while banning them in others.
A province-wide ban, Moore said, would make the rules easier to enforce.
He added that Port Coquitlam has had a draft bylaw ready to go but every time council has come close to bringing it forward, the city would hear rumblings that the province was considering legislation of its own.
"So in the meantime, we need to show that this stuff should not be used in our community," he said. "It has been a long time coming."
Municipalities across the country have adopted similar bylaws and the Canadian Cancer Society said that between 7 and 11% of cancer deaths are related to environmental carcinogens.
Port Coquitlam was one of the first municipalities in the country to stop using cosmetic pesticides on city lands and promotes natural lawn care techniques on its website.
Port Moody already has a ban in place while Coquitlam is considering one.