Stratford launching public education on pesticide use

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Residents in Stratford want action taken on traffic safety and pesticide use.

The results of the third annual residents’ survey were released on Friday, results that Mayor David Dunphy says the town will be acting on.

The survey also indicates that 85 per cent of the residents have confidence in the town’s RCMP services while 77 per cent said they are happy with the overall governance by council and staff.

See quick survey results

Out of 3,290 homes in the town of close to 10,000 people, 812 responded to the survey either on paper or online. Residents seem to be engaged when it comes to survey based on the fact 675 participated in 2012.

The survey, which was compiled by Inside Marketing, shows 66 per cent of respondents would like to see the town use public education to control cosmetic pesticides. Sixty per cent say safety concerns on the Hillsborough Bridge is the main reason they don’t use active transportation while 40 per cent point point to the speed of traffic as the main concern.

Dunphy said the town will soon implement a public education campaign on cosmetic pesticide use with the focus being on instructing people on how to have a healthy lawn without using chemicals.

“We are glad to now have three years of survey data which provides a solid picture of the level of the use of cosmetic pesticides in the town,’’ the mayor said at a press conference in Stratford Friday. “It demonstrates the strong support residents have on the issue of education and plans are already to do this.’’

That public education campaign is expected to begin in the next few weeks.

It’s the third year in a row residents have pointed to the Hillsborough Bridge and speed of traffic as safety concerns when it comes to active transportation.

“We will be initiating (a plan) this spring to deal with these issued so stay tuned.’’

The town has used past surveys to implement initiatives, such as opening a new public library which has not only doubled in size but doubled in the amount of people who use it. The community gardens was also an idea that came out of the past two surveys and every plot has sold since it opened.

Dawn Binns, a partner with Inside Marketing, said trends are starting to show now that the surveys have been going on for three years.

“You can monitor change over time and that’s really important, to implement something, see if it’s making a difference and, if not, make changes,’’ Binns said.

When it comes to cosmetic pesticides, results aren’t that surprising. Those who don’t use them cite people and pets and their main concerns while those who do use them cite a healthy lawn as the main reason.

“People do care about their lawn (so) we need to make sure we communicate effectively on how non-chemical methods can produce a real good quality lawn,’’ Binns said.

Dunphy said as a matter of showing leadership on the issue, the town does not spray pesticides on town-owned property.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to make a difference in the town,’’ he said.

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Stratford

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