Dandelion II

Ottawa City Hall Front Lawn
May 18, 2012

“They’re just waiting for the sod,” (Ottawa Mayor Jim) Watson said Tuesday. He expects the new grass to arrive within the next five days. “We want to have it running for race weekend.”

The Ottawa Race Weekend is May 26-27 and City Hall is near the start and finish lines.

The tourism-conscious mayor said he asked for an update on the City Hall landscaping Tuesday morning.

Jon Willing, “City Hall lawn looking a bit ratty…for now“. Ottawa Sun, May 15, 2012

Previously wrote about apparent municipal indifference to dandelions. It is one matter to ban pesticides. It is quite another to be indifferent to weed growth on municipal properties, resulting from the ban on the use of pesticides. On May 15, I wrote to my city councillor and on May 17 forwarded the message to the mayor about this, as follows:

Re: In terms of the state of dandelions…

…I had contacted you about this last year, suggesting employing students to physically remove them, while aerating the land and planting grass. I don’t recall receiving a reply. I am a constituent.

I wrote about the issue, though chose not to reference you by name, in relation to the missing response.

Any way to hire some summer students to remove weeds this year? Equally, if not more important than the resources devoted to banning outdoor smoking? (Bias here: I am a smoker.)

To another city councillor, I added the following:

I am concerned about the plans to put in turf at the front of City Hall, when all that will happen, in terms of current practices, is that it will be destroyed by weeds within a year or two.

Another issue that has come up, with the “don’t dig out the weeds” policy, is that the land in a number of city parks is now rock hard, due to lack of moisture; the dandelions get everything. I heard from X about the number of soccer injuries that are now attributed to the state of the grounds.

Going past school grounds, full of dandelions. Same issue; ground gets rock hard. Students playing on concrete.

Looking around my neighbourhood. So many now taking the lead of the city, and simply letting the lawns get overrun by dandelions. Maybe also intending to follow the city’s lead, and simply replace with turf, every couple of years.

Showing some dedication to the weed digout seems preferable to the biennial turf overlay. After all, the weed roots are still under the turf. City example seems quite poor.

Still waiting for an acknowledgement of receipt, let alone a reply. Smoking. In anticipation. Or antipathy.
Postscript, June 5, 2012:
I forwarded my concerns to Mayor Watson. He responded with a suggestion that I communicate my concerns directly to the National Capital Commission. Much of the land in and around Ottawa is owned by the National Capital Commission, with the same issues involving unrestricted dandelion growth. On June 4, 2012, I received a response from the National Capital Commission, which reads, in part, as follows:

Although we appreciate your comments, the suggestion is cost-prohibitive, even if volunteers are considered, given the extensive amounts of grass areas maintained by the NCC and given that these areas can simply not be maintained to a sport fields quality.

Pity. Since one of the key components to the mandate of the National Capital Commission is the promotion of tourism to the national capital region…

About brucelarochelle

This entry was posted in Ottawa Reflections, Weeds. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Dandelion II

  1. On May 22, 2012, Ottawa City Councillor Peter Hume commented as follows (e-mail correspondence reproduced with permission):

    At this time, we don’t have a program or a budget to eliminate dandelions on City property. At this time it is not possible to put such a program in place for 2012, but since you have taken the liberty of copying the Mayor on the program suggestion, he may include it in the 2013 budget he presents to City Council, later this fall.

    One other matter – I read in your blog the following “The city, having banned pesticides a few years ago, doesn’t seem to have even tried to counter the spread of dandelions.” We did debate implementing a pesticide reduction program, but never did implement any type of restriction. The restriction in the use of pesticides comes from the Province of Ontario, which introduced a province-wide ban on April 22, 2009.

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