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BEC History

The inception of BEC

In 1996 the City of Beaconsfield called a public meeting to discuss by-law 783 regulating the use of pesticides within the city. At this meeting it was obvious that many citizens strongly opposed the use of pesticides and that something had to be done. Anne-Marie Parent (City councillor) asked for volunteers to work with the city to educate residents on alternatives to pesticides.

Within three weeks an Alternatives to Pesticides Fair was organized. It featured speaker Edith Smeesters, president of Nature Action (St Bruno, Québec), and included 12 booths with experts in organic lawn care. It was a success with an attendance of over 300.

In the meeting following this fair the City expressed their hope that the residents involved in the organization of the fair would continue to be active in the area of alternatives to pesticides within the City.

The Beaconsfield Environmental Committee (BEC) was formed on June 25th, 1996 and has been working to educate Beaconsfield residents on alternatives to pesticides through environmental fairs, information evenings and surveys. BEC has also composed a comprehensive critique of Beaconsfield's by-law regulating the use of pesticides. BEC has successfully implemented a composter project. 

Since BEC's inception, it's members have been very active on the environment scene and held positions or were involved with many associated organizations such as the Green Coalition, Conseil Régional de l'Environnement de Montréal (CRE-Montréal), Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (CAP), Nature-Action, and the Association for the Protection of Angell Woods (APAW).

In 2006 we welcomed the formation of the Beaconsfield Environmental Advisory Committee (BEAC), a committee formed within the city administration, which freed BEC from it's council advisory role.

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Past projects and events 

Organized or supported by BEC,  in chronological order:

 

1. Alternatives to pesticides fair  (1996)

Beaconsfield residents and the City of Beaconsfield collaborated in the organization of the first Alternatives to Pesticides Fair in Beaconsfield. It featured key speaker, Edith Smeesters, expert in organic gardening and president of Nature Action, along with 12 other information booths featuring:

Organic Gardening  (Christine Perrot) 
Composting (Ann Wells) 
Health (Shelagh Webster)
Weeds (Dr. Tony Ditomasso)
Soil analysis (Dr. Mackenzie and Kristine Doucet) 
Birds (David Bird, Roger Titman)
Insects and spiders (Paul Maloney)
Lawn Care (Frank Tuton) 
Herbs (Karen Runnels)
Research (University of Laval I.PM.) 
Beaconsfield Horticultural Society (Daphne Weary) 
City of Beaconsfield Public works
Tea booth (Club Organic)

 

2. By-law critique (1997)

Early in 1997, it was brought to the attention of the City of Beaconsfield that their by-law regulating the use of pesticides in the City (by-law No. 783) had very large loop-holes. These loop-holes allowed the pesticide companies to spot spray pesticides year round rendering the summer ban on pesticide application practically useless.

The City of Beaconsfield then asked BEC to analyze the by-law. In response to this request f BEC composed a critique of by-law No. 783. The critique stated, among other things, that BEC is working towards a total ban on the use of pesticides in the City of Beaconsfield and that if a ban is not feasible immediately it should be phased in by the year 2000 through the gradual strengthening of by-law No. 783. It was stated by the City that a committee would be formed to examine this critique and make a decision as to how the by-law should be improved. This committee was never formed.

In the summer of 1997, a commentary on the critique was made by the city pesticide inspector, Caroline Robert, who has on-site experience and must take all citizens/companies opinions and interests into considerations. The comments were constructive.  However it was stated that at present, the city does not have any long term objectives for the pesticide by-law and even though the goal of the by-law is to reduce the use of pesticides in the city of Beaconsfield it is failing to do so.

The recommendations included in this commentary were very positive as were the suggested improvements for the 1998 season. It also stated that the Public Works department would like to work more closely with BEC to combine BEC's theoretical suggestions with the on-the-job experiences of certain city employees.

 

3. Alternatives to pesticides fair (1997)

Once again BEC teamed up with the City of Beaconsfield to organize the second Alternatives to Pesticides Fair. Once again information booths were featured on topics such as:

Natural health
Weed identification
Weed identification
Soil analysis
Recycling
Natural insect control
Herbs
Organic gardening
Lawn care
Composting
Natural spider control
Vermi-composting
..
and more

A survey was also completed by each resident attending the fair. Answers were compiled to give us an idea of what type of residents were coming to our fair. Residents who completed the survey were entered in a draw for prizes.

 

4. Composter project (1998 - 1999)

For two years in a row the City of Beaconsfield, in collaboration with BEC, offered subsidized Earth Machine composters for sale. A free one-hour course on composting techniques was also offered for those who purchased a composter. This project was a great success with hundreds of composters being sold.

 

5. SUCCESS: By-law 783 is amended! (April 2000)

BEC's hard work has started to pay off. The city council shows its concern for the health of its citizens by amending the by-law that regulates the use of pesticides in the city.  The major changes include:

  • a ban on the use of pesticides from June 15th to September 1st
  • a permit is required to make general and a restricted applications
  • the owner of the property is liable for pesticides applications done on his/her property.

 

6. Renaturalization day (June 1999)

BEC worked closely with the public works department of the city of Beaconsfield to reforest a vacant lot on the corner of Beaurepaire and Celtic and the banks of Meadowbrook stream. The day was a great success, about 100 people came to help plant trees and bushes. This project will serve to attract birds and wildlife to the area. It will also help to stabilize the banks of the stream and filter the water.

 

7. SUCCESS: Pesticide by-law 783 is amended again! (April 2000)

20 community groups (BEC included) and concerned individuals came together at a pesticide bylaw review meeting to present their recommendations to a review committee headed by councillor Bazar. On April 2000, the bylaw was again amended. The new pesticide restrictions:

  • extend the ban period from June 15th to September 15th (instead of September 1st)
  • limit pesticide spraying from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • restrict spraying to Mondays through Thursdays
  • create 'hot zones' where pesticides cannot be used near people who are medically sensitive to pesticides.
  • require homeowners to sign a document proving they hired a pesticide-spraying company to service their lawn.
  • increase the fines for companies and residents who violate the bylaw.

 

8. Quebec's Pesticide Management Code (April 2003)

On April 3, 2003,  Pesticide Management Code came into force in Quebec. In addition to new pesticide usage regulations,  this code establishes much more stringent Pesticide Sale Rules for Quebec:

  • it is prohibited to sell fertilizer-pesticide mixtures and mixed packages (e.g. herbicide and insecticide), as of April 2004;
  • it is prohibited to display products intended for domestic use in a way which makes these products accessible to the public, as of April 2005;
  • it is prohibited to sell certain pesticides intended for domestic use, as of April 2006.

The list of active ingredients now prohibited for lawn maintenance purposes now include 

  • insecticides: Carbaril, Dicofol, Malathion 
  • herbicides: 2,4-D (all chemical forms),    Chlorthal dimethyl, MCPA (all chemical forms), Mecoprop (all chemical forms)
  • fungicides: Benomyl, Captan, Chlorothalonil, Iprodione, Quintozene, Thiophanate-methyl

The Pesticide Code of Quebec also lists active pesticide ingredients currently deemed acceptable for use in and around daycares and  primary and secondary schools:

  • Insecticides: Acetamiprid, Boric acid, Borax, Silica dioxide (diatomaceous earth), Methoprene, Disodium octaborate tetrahydrate, Ferric phosphate, Insecticidal soap, Spinosad
  • Herbicides: Acetic acid, Conjugated decanoic and pelargonic acid, Herbicidal soap
  • Fungicides: Sulfur, Calcium sulphide or calcium polysulphide
  • Biopesticides:Active ingredients approved by the federal government

If you see that prohibited products are being sold in stores, or that a red sign indicating that pesticides have been used in these protected areas, to lodge a complaint, please call (418) 521-3830 or at 1 800 561-1616, choose language of choice, then dial 0 for information for your local Environment centre for complaints, by e-mail at info@mddep.gouv.qc.ca or, you can find the Environment Office in your area at: http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/ministere/rejoindr/adr_reg.htm

The highlights of the Pesticide Code of Quebec can be found at: http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/pesticides/permis-en/code-gestion-en/index.htm

 

9.  Angell Woods awareness day  (2003)

On May 17, 2003, BEC together with

  • the Angell Woods Protection Society (Association pour la protection du Boisé Angell),  APAW
  • the Green Coalition (Coalition Verte), and 
  • Scouts Canada. 

organized a day of Public "Angell Woods Awareness Day". It's aim was to demonstrate to politicians that the community supports saving green spaces.  The entrance to Angell Woods was filled with information booths  which demonstrated the rich biodiversity of these woods. Visitors took part in the ongoing nature walks, hotdog lunch, local band, and Adopt a Tree Project (150 trees were symbolically adopted).   About 300 people came out and most signed a petition supporting the development of a nature park in Angell Woods, which is currently the property of various land developers.   APAW submitted the petition to the City of Montreal and continues lobbying for the purchase of the land, to assure its protection from housing development and roadways. Media coverage of the event was extensive.

 

10. New pesticide bylaw in Beaconsfield/Baie d'Urfé & Montréal (2004)

On Monday May 3rd 2004, the City of Montréal passed By-law 04-041 concerning pesticide use.  The following evening, May 4th 2004, the Borough of Beaconsfield-Baie d'Urfé voted to adopt this by-law, effective May 7th 2004 with further restrictions.  Here are the resulting detailed documents:

The Beaconsfield-Baie d’Urfé Borough also provides a short summary of the related exceptions and permits. These are:

NOTE: Beaconsfield and Baie d'Urfé demerged from Montréal and separated from each other later in 2004.

 

11. Angell Woods appreciation days (2005, 2006,...) 

Green space acquisition has been an ongoing topic of discussion in Beaconsfield and now Montréal. Angell Woods, the last undeveloped forested area  in Beaconsfield, is currently owned by several land developers and is under imminent danger of development. The Association for the Protection of Angell Woods has partnered with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and is in need of help and volunteers in the effort to raise awareness, raise funds, and support the necessary and urgent political process.

The now annual event of "Angel Woods Appreciation day" takes  place around the 2nd weekend of May each year.

 

 

 

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