City Parks/Greenspaces

We applaud the City of Calgary Parks Department efforts to reduce their use of unnecessary pesticides. We encourage them to go all the way to no unnecessary pesticide use. Even tiny amounts of pesticides can effect health and development, especially of children and pets.  Let's make our City Parks and green spaces healthy for all!

Pesticides are also used by Calgary Transit on LRT lines and around bus stops, by Enmax around electrical facilities, and by the Roads Department along roadways. All of this pesticide use is supervised by the Parks Department.

Other cities have successfully stopped using pesticides in their parks and green spaces. Click here for information on how some of those cities and a local school district and nursery have gone to natural landscaping.  Over 132 Municipalities across Canada have now passed bylaws phasing out pesticide use and stopped cosmetic use of pesticides in their green spaces. The entire Province of Quebec is protected by pesticide legislation. If they can do it, so can we in Calgary! 

Natural maintenance practices are healthier for the soil and plants and can be cheaper in the long-run.

It has been argued that even though natural plant health care programs work in other cities, Calgary has a drier, cooler climate and that green spaces cannot be maintained here without pesticides.  It has also been said that it is difficult to use hardy fescue grass mixes in turf grass areas in Calgary because they are not hardy here. Yet Bowpoint Nursery and The Rockyview School Division, both just west of Calgary, have been using fescue grasses successfully and neither have used chemical pesticides for years. Local evidence and expert experience indicate that it is possible to manage landscapes naturally in the Calgary area:

The most difficult area to grow plants in Canada is the Chinook Zone [Calgary is in this climate/geographical area]. The most difficult site to keep green in the Chinook Zone are school grounds. In 2002,  “Communities in Bloom” declared the Rockyview School Division Grounds to be the best maintained in Canada. The Rockyview School Division practices organic lawn care and has for over a decade. The best part about using organic methods is that the benefits are cumulative.

Following a few simple steps with the big picture in mind eliminates the need for pesticides; achieves water conservation; attracts birds, butterflies and pollinators to your natural corridors; and reduces maintenance times and costs.
Steve Repic, Chief Groundskeeper, Rockyview School Division. Read more . . .

The beauty of a drier climate, such as the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, is that it is easier to go without pesticides and use natural, organic gardening methods. There is simply less "pest" pressure. In more humid climates there are a lot more problems with fungus, plant diseases, and insects.
Becky Elder
Organic Gardener since 1975 in Colorado
Blue Planet Earthscapes since 1995 in Colorado
Writer and Teacher  

Click here for examples of how other Cities and places manage their green spaces naturally.

Click here for details of how the City could manage its parks/green spaces naturally.

Click here for actions you can take to support a pesticide bylaw.