THE CHRONICLE HERALD — It’s spraying time again in Nova Scotia forests.

The provincial Environment Department has issued three new approvals for aerial pesticide spraying that will cover 1,498 wooded hectares, primarily in Cumberland County, along with limited sprays in Annapolis, Kings, Hants and Colchester counties.

Two of the approvals were issued for Century Forestry Consultants of Pictou, which will spray seven Cumberland County sites at or near East and West Leicester, Jersey, Hastings, and West Wentworth under one approval.

In its second spray approval, Century will cover 25 sites that are located at or near Paradise and West Inglisville in Annapolis County, Montrose in Colchester County, Leminister in Hants County, Victoria Harbour in Kings County and Maccan, Valley Road, Southampton, Riverview, Conns Mills, Jersey, West Wentworth, Harrison Settlement and Kirkhill, all in Cumberland County.

The third approval was for J.D. Irving Ltd., to spray 21 Cumberland County sites at or near West Wentworth, Black River Road, Rose, Athol Road, Southampton, Salt Springs, Mapleton, Little River, Thomson Station, Springhill Junction, and Joggins.

All of the recently approved applications expire on the last day of this year.

There are also three previously issued multi-year approvals that allow spraying this year.

Spray approvals from past years have been met with vigorous opposition.

Last year, residents objected to CN’s approval and scheduled spraying in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality, Cumberland and Colchester counties, including the towns of Truro, Amherst and Stewiacke, and East Hants.
Alexandre Boule, a public affairs adviser with CN, said in an email interview at that time that a core value of the company is safety and that CN is obligated under the Railway Safety Act to ensure that vegetation on or immediately adjacent to the railway roadbed is controlled.

“The rules require federal railways to ensure the track is free of vegetation that could create fire hazards, affect the track integrity or obstruct visibility of operations and inspections,” Boule said. “Separate regulations also require removal of vegetation to ensure every grade crossing meets sightline requirements.”

The concern regarding that spray and previous annual spray programs operated by Northern Pulp, the company that ran the Pictou County pulp mill in Pictou County, surrounded the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in herbicides Vision-Max and Roundup.

There has been a call to ban glyphosate from people who say the chemical can or probably can cause cancers.

Northern Pulp contended that glyphosate is one of the most extensively studied herbicides in history and that it has been approved for use in Canada since 1987.

In 2018, Northern Pulp applied to spray 794 hectares of woodland in Halifax, Hants and Colchester counties.

After Premier Stephen McNeil denied Northern Pulp an extension to complete its planned effluent treatment plant to replace the Boat Harbour facility, the mill ceased production seven months ago. With its future up in the air, the company made no spray applications this year.

The release from the Environment Department reiterates that all spray approvals contain specific terms and conditions, such as maintaining separation distances and notifying the public about spraying times.

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