Dandelions were a hot topic at last week's meeting with the mayor and council, and Mayor Pat Fule said it can be very challenging to find ways to address the issue in a way that would make the whole community happy.
While there are some that hate dandelions and would love to see them sprayed with the dandelion killer, there are others who believe we shouldn't use chemical sprays.
"I don't think you're ever going to find full comfort levels with the responses because things have changed so much over the years as far as how we deal with dandelions. I joked that I'm still of the generation that hates dandelions, but I also know it's incredibly expensive to deal with them in large town parks," Fule said.
Even if you aren't worried about the potential environmental impacts of the spray itself, Fule said that killing dandelions too early could be problematic as well.
"If we were to spray early they may not bloom, and I know some people are very interested in allowing dandelions to bloom. They're one of the first pollinating plants that bloom for bees after the winter season, so there are a lot of people who feel we should leave the dandelions alone, and some who feel they should all be gotten rid of."
While there are definitely challenges to removing dandelions, that doesn't mean the town council is just giving up. Fule said it's important to find a balanced approach.
"I understand they're a nuisance, and I understand when they go to seed they spread everywhere. We're trying to look at some ways we can possibly deal with this. I think it's all across Canada too, every municipality is dealing with trying to find a balance of addressing dandelions or whether you're going to leave things more natural. It's frustrating to some, I totally understand that, but we do have to try and find a balance somehow."
Part of this balanced approach is finding the most problematic areas and approaching the situation from there. It's possible we'll see some parks and fields being sprayed, but don't expect all of Strathmore to be completely dandelion free.
"We're trying to find a way to possibly look at areas that are really problematic, and see if there are things we can do. I don't think we'll go into a full-scale war on dandelions because there are just so many risks for kids and animals as far as being down at ground level. Children are much smaller and they're right close to the ground. I would hate for us to be in a situation where we treated a park with dandelion spray and then a child was affected."
Ultimately, Fule understands dandelions can be annoying to some and is looking for a way to get rid of them. While there may never be a unanimous consensus, the town council is working to control the weeds in a way that everyone can agree with.
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