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Surrey extends pesticide bylaw

Now multiple family dwellings are forbidden from using lawn chemicals
Surrey has strengthened its pesticide bylaw.

Surrey council has given approval to shut down the use of the cosmetic use of pesticides (including fungicides and herbicides) throughout the city, including apartment buildings.

Last May, city council endorsed a pesticide bylaw for all single family dwellings.

Except in rare cases, chemicals used to control pests were for the first time in Surrey, restricted on both private and publicly owned land.

It had been a long battle for the Surrey and White Rock Pesticide-free Coalition, which had been lobbying Surrey for such a bylaw for three years.

To celebrate the occasion, the group, along with the Canadian Cancer Society and the Green Ideas Network, are presenting a screening of "Chemical Reaction: The story of a true green revolution." The film follows how the anti-pesticide movement began, how it grew, and affected change throughout North America.

On Monday night, Surrey council added multiple family dwellings, such as apartments to the restricted areas of use.

Now, the bylaw covers all of the city, except where Surrey doesn't have the jurisdiction to control its use.

They include:

agriculture and forestry operations; controlling noxious needs (as defined under the Weed Act); controlling pests in or on buildings, structures and hard landscaping; managing outbreaks of introduced invasive exotic or foreign pests; managing pests that threaten sensitive ecosystems; purifying water used for human or animal consumption; and responding to human or animal health issues.

Coun. Mary Martin, chair of the Mayor's Task Force on Health, said she's extremely pleased to see the bylaw include multi-family residential properties.

"I'm really happy that it's going to be (enforced) across the city," Martin said Friday. "It's a health issue, there's no question about it. There's studies that have been done, that show pesticides are really detrimental to our health."

The amendment passed unanimously by council on Monday.