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Byron Shire
March 3, 2024

Weed issue shooting up

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I spent seven years on a Byron Shire Council water advisory committee because I felt strongly about herbicide spraying in the shire. It was a great exercise and I learned much. Achieved? Not so much: a ‘register for chemical sensitive people’ (which is great) and a ‘ safety policy’ for council workers applying the spray which didn’t really do anything, because shortly after council started using contractors for the job. Ahhh, the signage indicating spray operations ahead, just common sense. I remember talking to Leichardt and Shepparton council staff about their over-all good experience with the Wipuna steam sprayer and passing this on to Byron Council staff.

Fast forward not quite 10 years: just imagine how dumbstruck I was recently on a morning walk. I came closer to this contractor’s spraying ute with a big sign on the back, saying: ‘Chemical Free Weed Control’. I thought ‘I am hallucinating’. I read it several times trying to make sense of the obvious spraying contraption and the sign. Until Paul Sommers introduced himself to me and explained that this is his steam spraying truck and he was treating the playground here at Tallowood. Now imagine my joy about this obvious advancement. I am sure all parents appreciate the playgrounds and sporting fields not being sprayed with herbicides – true?

In the recent news this week, Mr Holloway brings up [the issue of] regrowth. First of all great, it shows the soil isn’t totally infertile. Secondly ever noticed, that the roadsides (playgorunds, sporting fields and pavements) are being sprayed and/or slashed several times a year? To me this indicates regrowth and tells me that herbicides like cortisone only work when they are being used. Seems to be on par with the steam sprayer. (By the way, the steam sprayer in Shepparton comes in handy to clean public toilets, pavements and more.)

Regarding the costs! What costs? Why not actually come up with a wholesome and complete cost analysis? The savings will be obvious.

As a parent, rate- and tax-payer I ask council to stop supporting multinationals telling us how to poison our environment and continue supporting local businesses like Paul Sommers to keep our natural heritage healthy.

Iris Detenhoff, Mullumbimby


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1 COMMENT

  1. well said! I am interested in the comments about the regrowth. Having worked in gardens and farmlets over the years, my observation is that persistance in weed removal is more important than poisoning.

    Here is the report from Yarra http://weedsnetwork.com/traction/permalink/WeedsNews5094
    “The benefit of steam weed treatment is that overtime it controls and limits the ability of weeds to generate new seed banks, while traditional herbicide spraying does not. “

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