by Theresa Peluso

Herbicide spraying on our roadsides – Coming very soon to Mississippi Mills!

Yes, folks, it’s that time again!  Spring – the trees arrayed in their delicate new leaves, the vibrant tulips, daffodils and woodland flowers – and the herbicide-spray trucks reducing our vibrant roadsides to dead brown plants.

Like us, our municipal staff are experiencing Covid-related difficulties right now, which may account for the late, perfunctory notice of the upcoming herbicide spraying of our roadsides (to supposedly manage the wild parsnip).  This notice, sent out last Wednesday (May 13), also announces options for property owners to exempt their municipal-road frontages from being sprayed.  Here it is:

https://www.mississippimills.ca/en/news/index.aspx?page=2&newsId=6655ed01-1a96-4b0d-bd73-c00e48c0cc18

As you can see from the sub-link https://www.mississippimills.ca/en/live/weedcontrol.asp, the new deadline for receiving opt-out and adopt-a-road forms has been extended from May 22 to May 29 because of the late notification.  You MUST make sure to print out your form, fill it out, and send your form in by this date (scan and email the form, or photocopy and drop it off at the Municipal office) to qualify for the exemption. Residents who applied for an exemption from spraying last year must re-apply this year, as this exemption is not automatically renewed.

Once you sign and send the form, the onus is on you to remove any and all wild parsnip before June 19, and keep your frontage free of wild parsnip for the rest of the season. That deadline has NOT been modified.  If, on or after that date, any wild parsnip is found on your frontage, it will be sprayed. If you are unable to fax or scan the application form, you can contact the Municipal offices by telephone at 613-256-2064 or by e-mail at aarmstrong@mississippimills.ca.

As you will see from the map provided, certain roads are designated for boom- and spot-spraying.  However, because staff have stated that they will do a spring assessment to determine the current levels of wild parsnip, roadsides not shown on the map may still be sprayed.  Therefore, to be safe, you may decide to submit a request to opt out of spraying anyway.

Last year, the Municipality received approximately 200 opt-out and adopt-a-road requests from residents living on municipal rural roads.  Clearly, many people realize that pesticides are wreaking havoc on Nature and on our health.  Herbicides and insecticides are approved with little or no testing, and only after years of use does evidence of their damage become too overwhelming to ignore, by which time it’s too late.  Damage such as cancer, birth defects, neurodevelopment disorders, hormone disruption, soil and water pollution, loss of native plant and animal species, and the proliferation of herbicide-resistant weeds.

If you have any friends or neighbours without electronic access to the Municipal website whose frontages may be sprayed, please share this information with them, and print out a form for them if required.  It is hoped that the Municipality will post a notice soon in the print edition of our local community newspaper.