Council supports dandelion control options

City council has opted to take a closer look at dandelion control in Red Deer after reviewing a Notice of Motion at this week’s meeting.

Councillor Frank Wong introduced the Notice of Motion in June. It seeks an enhanced level of service for dandelion control, and it was initially recommended to council that alternate service levels be developed and presented for their consideration at the time of the 2013 budget debate. It could then be considered in context of the entire City budget.

But Wong wanted to see steps taken sooner. He presented several emails from concerned citizens and said he had fielded several phone calls about the issue as well. Others are wary of the City stepping up strategies to combat dandelions.

Councillor Dianne Wyntjes said she would like to see a report of healthier options that would be available for dandelion control.

“I know the chemicals certainly aren’t the best option anymore in terms of the health hazards. But we are known for our green and clean City. We are Red Deer, not ‘yellow deer’. So I would ask for a report in terms of the options that are available,” she said.

Councillor Lynne Mulder said she is supportive of the motion, but wanted to make sure council was doing the right thing in terms of selecting the correct control methods. Councillor Cindy Jefferies also pointed out that with the City’s lack of spraying, there are more citizens privately using chemical control on their own property to control dandelions.

Ultimately, everyone supported the motion except for Wong, who was disappointed that control action couldn’t take place sooner.

Council was told that dandelion spaying that currently does take place covers 180 acres mainly along arterial roads, said Trevor Poth, parks superintendent.

He said the best time to spray for dandelions would be late in September and into early October before the first frosts which also allows for about half the amount of pesticides that would normally be required.

It was decided that alternatives be presented for council’s consideration at the time of the mid-year budget review, which is set for Aug. 20. Prior to any spraying, it would be prudent to seek some public consultation and learn about options when it comes to spraying, said Mayor Morris Flewwelling.

“I don’t think we can do anything until we get the report,” he said. “August 20 is about as fast as can expect a decent report and council’s consideration.”