Municipal Council votes in favour of immediate ban on BTI pesticide
Gatineau’s municipal council voted to immediately ban the pesticide Bacilius Thurigiensis Israelensis (BTI) at its meeting at Aylmer’s Robert Middlemiss Pavilion on April 18.
BTI is a bacteria-based non-chemical pesticide widely used to control blackfly and mosquito populations during the summer months. However, recent studies suggest potential harmful environmental impacts caused by the pesticide if sprayed over large areas. A recently published literature review commissioned by the provincial government recommended avoiding the large-scale use of BTI, particularly in wetlands, because of its potential to disrupt food chains. While the review considered small-scale targeted use of BTI to be among the most “humane and environmentally friendly methods” of pest control, it recommended avoiding large-scale spraying of the pesticide because of its impact on mosquito and blackfly populations as food sources for other wildlife and noted possible direct health impacts on other insects and amphibians.
While the Council had previously agreed to ban the pesticide by 2024, Councillor Anik Des Marais proposed a resolution at the April 18 meeting to apply the ban immediately. The vote was passed with 13 members in favour and seven against. The council will now begin to explore alternative strategies to control the mosquito population and said that it will put in place a communications strategy to explain to the public its decision to ban the pesticide. Gatineau is the most recent municipality in Quebec to ban BTI following 18 other municipalities that have already put a ban in place.
Among other decisions passed at the council meeting was the appointment of Simon Fournier as the city’s new Police Service Director and the appointment of Mélanie Varin-Lacasse - co-owner of the L’Éco des Champs farm on Chemin Eardley - as a new member of the city’s agricultural consultative committee. A proposal to create a new Public Security Commission made up of elected representatives and other residents that will bring public security recommendations to the council was also approved. In addition, a proposal to implement measures to raise awareness about multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) was passed and the council agreed to revise the city’s by-laws to allow residents to keep miniature pigs as pets.
The next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 9 at 7:00 pm at the Maison du Citoyen, 25 rue Laurier. Municipal Council meetings are open to the public and any resident may present questions or concerns to the council by arriving half an hour early, at 6:30 pm, and registering their name at the reception desk.