by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent
Council has asked Town Administration to come forward with some options to deal with this year’s unusually high dandelion growth at their last Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting of their four-year term.
This came following a motion from Councillor Stephen Dafoe to discuss the dandelion and weed problem, with Dafoe presenting several photos from public areas around Town riddled with dandelions. Dafoe noted that the issue has potentially become more pronounced in recent years as the province no longer considers the plant a noxious weed, and acknowledged that if the weeds are a problem is a “philosophical question,” but noted that many residents had come forward to the Town with concerns. Dafoe probed administration that evening for what steps could be taken to combat the problem.
Andrew Isbister, Morinville’s CAO, as well as Claude Valcourt, Director of Public Works, were on hand to respond to questions. Isbister responded acknowledging the issue, saying that is has been a notable problem across the province this year due to unusually high moisture.
Valcourt acknowledged the issue and said his department has been combating the issue but said he was looking for direction from council on what options to pursue to further fight the problem. Spraying herbicide is a potential solution that he mentioned, noting along with Isbister that it is a solution commonly used for the Town’s soccer fields, but could potentially employ more widely if required. Additional mowing (at greater taxpayer expense), is potentially another solution.
Dafoe noted he is “not a fan of spraying” and would prefer other solutions if possible. Mayor Holmes pointed out that the dandelions near her property have been far more than usual as well, and was concerned that mowing at this point may only spread the dandelions from Town property onto residents’ yards. Holmes also said: “Maybe we need to pass along that as a community we just need to live through this, and say, in a couple of weeks they’re going to be gone, and if we mow it it could make it worse.” Going onto argue that spraying more on public land could potentially be a hazard to residents.
Council then unanimously directed Administration to come forward to their July 11 Council meeting as part of Isbister’s CAO report with suggestions for what action could be taken to stay on top of weeds on Town property over the summer. Dafoe’s motion also called for information to the public explaining why the problem is so pronounced this year.