[ Bioenergy ]
2 October 2001
NORTH SHORE TIMES ADVERTISER
PO Box 33235
NORTH SHORE CITY
CONTROLLING WEEDS OR COUNCIL?
Obviously it was a "tongue in cheek" expression ‘what’s good for Council must be good for the rest of us", Victoria Troake (NSTA 25 Sep). But Council’s return to applying toxic chemicals to North Shore City streets and public areas, and adversely affecting the health of some people and animals, shouldn’t have come about. The Council policy is quite clear, saying in it preamble "North Shore City as part of its commitment to Healthy Cities has a policy of encouraging and promoting environmentally sensitive methods of weed control in the city." This was adopted in 1993 when I was on Council.
How has this been misinterpreted by Council officers and certain Councillors? Why was the tender not written to require the use of environmentally sensitive methods? Had it been, Techscape’s (Council’s contracting co.) fear of loosing the weed control contract to competitors (principally Excel intruding from Manukau City) unless they resorted to chemicals too, would not have emerged. Synthetic chemical-free methods for human and animal safety could have been allowed for. There would have been the incentive to secure the hot water system, which is still available. Indeed, Waipuna tell me that if they had known their licensee wasn’t going to tender with the hot water method, they would have contracted to do the whole City themselves. And it would have been at a lower price too because they would have used their new and more effective hot foam method. It would have saved ratepayers both money and possible adverse health effects.
But there is even more to this issue. Yet another question arises. Why did Council stop a trial of this improved and more cost efficient method when the Weed Control policy requires it to keep abreast of new methods and trial them? Works Committee Chairman Bruce Lilly has a lot to answer for. The 40% more efficient method would have dispelled Mayor Wood’s criticism about the weed control system not properly removing weeds from streets. Of course insistence on better contractor performance could have achieved that anyway since the contract requires certain standards to be met.
As for the new "concession" of a register for those who don’t want chemicals applied outside their home, this is a farce. They or their children and pets only have to walk up the street to be expose to the toxins. And the next rainfall will wash some of the stuff into stormwater systems to streams and our coastal waters. Why challenge ecosystems unnecessarily?
This sorry saga needs continued agitation from people in our city until it is put right and Council held accountable for safety. More responsible measures can be adopted to maintain a Healthy City for both people and pets, and the environment we all depend upon.
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