• City of Port Moody; City of Port Coquitlam; City of Coquitlam v. Deputy Administrator, Pesticide Control Act

    Decision Date:
    File Numbers:
    Decision Numbers:
    Third Party:
    Canadian Pacific Railway, Permit Holder


    Decision Date: January 13, 1999

    Panel: Toby Vigod, Dr. Robert Cameron, Helmet Klughammer

    Keywords: Pesticide Control Act – s. 6; Pesticide Control Act Regulation – s. 2(1)(a); Roundup; Amitrol-T; Telar; Arsenal; Karmex; Garlon 4; difference between a pesticide free zone and a buffer zone; B.C. Handbook for Pesticide Applications; Standard Conditions Relating to Pesticide Use Permits in B.C.

    The cities of Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody appealed the issuance of a Pesticide Use Permit to Canadian Pacific Railway (“CP Rail”) for the use of six herbicides on its track ballast and around signal facilities between Lytton and Vancouver, and on the company’s yards in Port Coquitlam. The Appellants argued that the herbicide application would cause an “unreasonable adverse effect” – it would result in damage to watercourses, wildlife and public health and safety. They also argued that steam treatment could be used instead of herbicide spraying, and that there had been inadequate notification and consultation prior to issuance of the permit. Conversely, CP Rail argued for less stringent permit conditions, such as a reduction of the pesticide free zone (“PFZ”) for certain applications of glyphosate.

    The Panel found that the permit conditions requiring a 10-metre PFZ from the high water mark of waterbodies would adequately protect those waterbodies, but accepted that a 5-metre PFZ would be satisfactory for wipe-on applications of glyphosate. The Panel did not find it necessary for the permit to set out specific buffer zones, leaving that to the discretion of the applicator.

    Regarding wildlife, the Panel concluded that the permit should not have an adverse impact on birds feeding along the track given the low frequency of treatment applications, or on other wildlife as blackberry plants were to be exempt from spraying.

    The Panel accepted that the steam machine had not proven effective in removing grasses along the ballast and that there were no viable non-chemical alternatives for the total control of vegetation on the ballast of the track.

    With respect to notification and consultation, the Panel found that the minimum notification requirements set out in the Pesticide Control Act and Regulation were met. However, as Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam were not notified of the permit application, the Panel recommended that the Ministry consider amending the Regulation to require notification to municipalities of major pesticide use permit applications in their jurisdiction.

    An issue regarding appropriate signage of the treatment areas prior to herbicide spraying was also considered. The Panel found the permit provision to be too limiting as it only required posting at rail yards. It therefore made an order requiring signage at main access points to treatment areas.

    The Panel upheld the permit, subject to certain amendments agreed to by the parties and imposed by the Panel. The appeal was dismissed.