City to explore idea of pollinator parks

  • Mar. 19, 2014 8:35 p.m.

Red Deerians could see dedicated pollinator parks popping up throughout the City in the future.

Councillors Paul Harris and Lynne Mulder recently submitted a joint Notice of Motion to request the City’s parks department to explore the inclusion of dedicated pollinator parks for the purpose of creating pollinator habitat within existing or future City parks.

The Notice of Motion also asked City staff to permanently ban neonicotinoids and related pesticides in their practices, but that will require further research, council was told.

“We have to realize that we are completely dependent on the planet and the other species, but the planet and other species are not dependent on us. They can do without us and that is a point we often forget. In bringing this forward, this is one specific thing that could go wrong, but there are many different things,” said Harris. “We know that pollinator insects pollinate two-thirds of the world’s crops. If we in Red Deer can think about how we can help our citizens become more educated about the importance of pollinator insects in our community and at the same time demonstrate that we can do it here and make a difference in our own community, perhaps we can show leadership to others.”

Harris added the issue was brought forward by citizens to himself and Mulder during last year’s election campaign.

“This isn’t a small issue, even though it’s just one of many, it’s one that is important and it’s one that we can move the needle on and make a difference in Red Deer both in terms of education and protection of pollinator insects.”

Councillor Dianne Wyntjes said this is an important step for the City.

“I often think over the last decade or so – I have personally seen less and less bees and I think we take it for granted when they come to our trees, to our flowers or even our crops in our vicinity,” she said. “From my reading some scientists have suggested that our bees are overrun by mite infestation and others suggest that the insecticides are to blame because the bees are dying. The reality is we are seeing less bees.

“I think we have to think about the impact of bee pollination on our food products. Where would we be without our fruits, without our vegetables, without the impact it has on the agricultural sector?”

Council voted in favour of the Notice of Motion. The City’s parks department will now explore the inclusion of dedicated pollinator parks.

The City will also explore the permanent banning of neonicotinoids and related pesticides that are known to have adverse effects on the health of pollinator populations.