“Ontario's Liberal government will introduce legislation tomorrow to implement a province wide ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides, keeping one of their key election promises from last year.”
The article from The Star: http://www.thestar.com/News/Ontario/article/416766
The province wide ban is aimed at replacing a patchwork of local pesticide bylaws, but Ontario farmers will be exempt. There's no word yet if the province also plans to exempt golf courses from the ban.
I want to repeat this part: “There's no word yet if the province also plans to exempt golf courses from the ban.”
My understanding is the golf courses will be exempt – that’s always been assumed and discussed - but reading this line and knowing the implications scares the hell out of all of us in golf industry. For perspective: Pesticide is a blanket name for herbicide, insecticide and fungicide. In a presentation by Doctor Grant from Cornell this winter – where she talked about the idea of reducing or eliminating pesticides - she said that North-Eastern golf courses don’t stand a chance against snow mold if there is not available product used to protect the turf through the winter. While there was a whole host of ways that we would end up with dead turf, the simplest being snow mold, may become the most devastating if we are not allowed minimal treatment.
"We always said it was a priority when we came out with our platform last year, and it's had tremendous support around the province from what we've received as far as the environmental registry is concerned," Gerretsen said. "Ninety per cent of the people that responded to it responded in a favourable way."
The article talks about a 90% support – but the question comes do even 90% understand the implications of making this a reality. This is where everyone in the field is frustrated – since farming will continue to be exempt when potentially golf is not. So its OK to spray the food that we eat, but not the grass that we walk on – in shoes.
As one superintendent said to me recently – even if we are exempt now – doesn’t mean we should expect to be exempt in 10 years. The lobby has just had one a huge victory – and this will encourage them on towards achieving their eventual goal of a complete ban on all pesticides.
If your a golfer and your not worried - you should be!