Alleged herbicide use sparks interest of local resident

Lawn Doctor states they obey bylaws, Mow and Snow to demonstrate enviro-friendly weed solution.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. this morning, a Fernie resident took to social media, saying that they spotted a Lawn Doctor truck spraying herbicides at the Miners Village near the Stanford Hotel in Fernie.

“If you see this truck they are spraying all over town,” read the post. “No notices. These guys (are) contracted by mow and snow. Breaking the law.”

According to the social media post, the resident approached the Lawn Doctor truck, inquiring as to what they were spraying. Lawn Doctor responded by saying they were spraying liquid fertilizer, but the resident did not believe them.

The RCMP was phoned in relation to this disturbance, and the RCMP responded and came to the conclusion that the resident was simply exercising his freedom of speech, but to leave the business alone.

The residents social media post received much attention, with some even commenting, “Tell them to drink a 30ml shot next time, (to) prove it’s safe.”

Following this, both Mow and Snow and Lawn Doctor received an overwhelming number of phone calls, questioning their methods of weed control.

The Pesticide Use Control Bylaw #2093 states that it is an offense in the City of Fernie to, “[Sect. 3.4], …apply or otherwise use Pesticides for the purpose of maintaining outdoor trees, shrubs, flowers, turf or other ornamental plants on a parcel if the parcel or part of the parcel is Private Land or Public Land.”

Lawn Doctor was sub-contracted by Mow and Snow to maintain several lawn areas in Fernie, and have been providing services in the Elk Valley for almost 30 years. Lawn Doctor has a few hundred regular customers in the City of Fernie. Besides Mow and Snow, they have also been sub-contracted by the City of Fernie to perform property maintenance.

Lawn Doctor is certified to spray both Trillion-D, a herbicide, as well as liquid fertilizer. On their trucks are separate tanks which carry both applicants. Lawn Doctor said they understand Fernie’s bylaws, and obey them.

“There’s multiple tanks on each truck,” said Lawn Doctor owner, Cam St. Jean. “Each truck carries a large tank that’s full of liquid fertilizer, and a really small tank of herbicide.

“Everywhere we’re going, we’re always spraying fertilizer. This is probably the biggest misconception,” he added. “People think that every time we’re out there, we’re spraying herbicides, but we’re not. Ninty-nine per cent of what we spray is fertilizer.”

Mow and Snow co-owner, Kari Mertz, reiterated this.

“We and Lawn Doctor are aware of what the bylaws are, and we follow the bylaws,” she said.

Lawn Doctor, a lawn maintenance company based out of Cranbrook, does perform herbicide applications in areas where it is legal to do so. These areas include Creston, Cranbrook, the RDEK, Sparwood and Elkford.

It appears as though Mow and Snow have found a potential solution to control weeds in the City of Fernie, that meets all bylaws and remains environmentally friendly.

Foamstream Weed Control by Weeding Tech is an award-winning new system of controlling weeds, invented in New Zealand and manufactured in England. It uses thermal technology to kill weeds using a precise application of hot water and foam. It is seen by many countries as the best herbicide-free weed solution. It does not harm other plants, and is safe around pets and children.

Foamstream can not be used on lawns, but is used to control weeds in urban areas such as sidewalks, interlocking brick, mulch beds, rock gardens and shrub beds.

Tomorrow Mow and Snow will be welcoming Truman Van Nes of Global Roadway Maintenance Incorporated to Fernie, who will giving a demonstration of Foamstream to anyone interested in this solution.

This has been an initiative at work for a month, and Mow and Snow are exploring this method as a more environmentally friendly solution for the City of Fernie.

Global Roadway Maintenance Incorporated (GRM Inc.) is a company based out of West-Kelowna, and serve as the western-canadian-distributors for the product. The Foamstream system is relatively new in the North American market and has just recently been approved for the United States. At the end of last summer there were only five machines in operation; three in the Lower Mainland and two in the Okanagan. In the past month, GRM Inc. has received orders from Courtney, Edmonton and Prince George.

The Foamstream demonstration will take place on Thursday, June 8 outside Barkside Pets, at approximately 12:00 noon.