Why do councils still use controversial weed killers in public parks?

    Since moving to Yarraville from Germany with my Australian husband three months ago I’ve been reading your issues. I noticed the environmental focus of your newspaper regarding the western community. Because of this I wanted to ask if there have ever been any initiatives from the community to ban spraying herbicides in the local parks. I was shocked when I brought my son to kindergarten through Cruikshank Park the other day and we observed men with masks spraying chemicals (glyphosate?) between the trees and close to the paths ( at a time when many school children walk through the park on the way to their school). In Germany this practice is not allowed and I wonder why parents and visitors of the park don’t seem to mind this happening. It is especially questionable that even the logs close to the kindergarten, which are formed as dragons and invite children to climb and play on, are being sprayed. 

    Since glyphosate and its dangers make international headlines at the moment, I was wondering if this issue (use of herbicides in community and nature areas) could be written about in the Westender. I have written to the council and have not received an answer. Other articles I read on the internet were mostly focusing on Stony Creek and its pollution, not the areas in the park which are weeded in a questionable manner.

    Eva-Marie Casper-Williams

    Editor reply: The Westsider has asked Maribyrnong, Hobsons Bay, Brimbank and Wyndham Councils for information regarding the use of glyphosate. 

    At the time of printing only Maribyrnong and Brimbank had responded. 

    Brimbank Council said that ‘all Councils and state authorities with land management responsibilities continue to use glyphosate-based products.’

    Both said that their weed programs are informed by the guidelines set out by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and WorkSafe, who are the regulatory authorities in this space.

    Both claim to avoid using toxic herbicides in high-use areas such as playgrounds, maternal child health centres and pre-schools. In these instances Maribyrnong Council says it uses chemical-free methods only, which includes slashing and hand weeding.

    Both say they display appropriate signage while spraying and Brimbank says it uses barriers and exclusion zones from the public while spraying.

    Brimbank Council says it has also introduced a ‘No Spray’ register for residents who wish to nominate their property abutting a council road or laneway, as one they wish to commit to manage the weeds without the use of glyphosate-based weed killer.

    Tolls on the West Gate Bridge?

    I noticed in a post on the West Gate Tunnel Facebook page suggesting trucks would be tolled on the bridge. It is my understanding there were to be no tolls on the bridge.

    The placement of gantries just before Williamstown Rd means a de facto toll on the bridge and the rest of Transurban city link network. Trucks and other vehicles will leave the network to avoid the tolls to use local roads increasing congestion and rat runs. 

    The new Hyde St ramps will be some relief for freight to and from the west but the bulk of local freight movement is heading east and they will continue to use Westgate Bridge. 

    If the Govt and Transurban wish to remove heavy vehicles from the inner west, tolling will be counter productive.

    Hudsons Rd trucks continue to be problematic. Vehicles are getting bigger and Visy in particular use local roads despite the Hyde St arterial being on their doorstep. 

    Rosa McKenna

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    Editor Barbara Heggen
    Editor Barbara Heggen
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