Council voted Thursday to spend $3 million next spring to control dandelions, using a combination of mowing and herbicides.
Councillors debated two options in the 2018 budget: to spend $2 million to mow grass on about 1,500 fields across the city; or to spend $3 million to mow and apply a herbicide called iron chelate, which it considers a low-risk herbicide.
They decided to spend the extra $1 million.
Coun. Michael Walters is in favour of an ongoing commitment to treat grass every year to make sports fields safer for kids.
He told council he saw six-year old kids trying to kick a ball who literally “couldn’t do it.”
“The mowing cycle is clear,” he said. “I don’t think it addresses this problem, no matter how early it starts.”
Councillors Sarah Hamilton, Scott McKeen, Ben Henderson and Andrew Knack voted against using the herbicide.
Some still question how low-risk the herbicide is, and whether there’s a better way to deal with dandelions in the future.
Mayor Don Iveson pushed for the higher amount, though it means adding to the property tax in 2018, with the increase now estimated at 3.2 per cent.
“Even if this has a modest impact on the tax levy, I certainly feel quite comfortable justifying it to taxpayers,” he said.
This spring was one of the worst for dandelions, Iveson said, noting that the weather is getting warmer and wetter, which makes the herbicide necessary to control the problem.
Council also passed a motion to have staff prepare a report on how well the $3-million project works, and asked them to draft a long-term strategy on controlling weeds.