Council requests report on dandelion management

The City of Red Deer will take some time on how to better attack dandelions that have been allowed to spread on city turf.

The City of Red Deer will take some time on how to better attack dandelions that have been allowed to spread on city turf.

Red Deer city council decided on Monday that an administrative report will come back on Aug. 20 to address options for enhanced dandelion control.

Coun. Frank Wong, who issued a notice of motion about weed infestation at the June 25 meeting, was disappointed the city wouldn’t address the situation sooner.

“We should have acted on this a long time ago,” said Wong, the sole one to vote against the motion. “A lot of residents wanted us to spray a month ago.”

In 2010, the province removed dandelions from the Weed Act and Regulations, resulting in changes to city practices with respect to dandelion management.

Wong said he had received more than 10 phones calls, plus 10 emails in regards to the issue. Nearly everyone was in support of seeing enhanced dandelion control.

A number of residents are complaining because they are treating dandelions but nearby city lands are allowing the weeds to grow and then spread their seeds.

Wong said he goes on walks in his neighbourhood and no matter the direction, he can smell the sprays from different companies getting rid of dandelions in people’s yards.

People are spending a lot of money controlling their own dandelions, Wong said.

“We back off on a park and I was told that I would have to wait until the fall to kill weeds and that the city doesn’t see dandelions as a toxic weed, so therefore I was told that the city won’t be spraying for weeds,” said Julie in an email to Wong.

“I don’t believe that we should wait until the fall to kill weeds. It should be looked after on a continuous basis, starting in May until September.”

Pat and Peter Anderson had a different opinion, saying they didn’t want the city to come around spraying the whole park for dandelions.

Coun. Paul Harris said the city can investigate environmentally friendly options so he was glad a report was coming forward.

Coun. Dianne Wyntjes said she’d like to see healthier options.

“We’re known for being a green city,” she said.

City manager Craig Curtis said that the city doesn’t have the staff or the budget to handle a dandelion treatment in the summer.

City of Red Deer parks superintendent Trevor Poth said the best time to spray is during September and October.

The city tackles about 180 acres out of 1,500, plus some special sections it may want to go after on these weeds. It costs about $24,300 or about $135 an acre for that year, Poth said.

In other council news:

• the Great Chief Park Enhancement Concept Plan and Outdoor Speed Skating Oval Relocation has been tabled to Aug. 20

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