Turf & Rec

News
Pesticide arguments take centre stage at WCTA


January 3, 2010
By Mike Jiggens

BOTH sides of the argument behind a possible ban
on cosmetic pesticide use in British Columbia will be discussed at the 47th
annual Western Canada Turfgrass Association Conference & Show, Jan. 29 to
Feb. 3 in Nanaimo.

 Speakers
who will address the topic include Jeffrey Lowes, director of government and
industrial relations for MREP Communications, and Lisa Gue of the David Suzuki
Foundation.



 Lowes’
presentation is entitled, “The truth behind pesticide bylaws: an industry
caught between fact and fiction.” Lowes has been investigating activists’
claims regarding cosmetic pesticides and their use, stating in an MREP news
release that evidence links the Canadian Association of Physicians for the
Environment (CAPE) to fake medical reports as well as individuals posing as
medical doctors to offer support for Ontario’s recently-implemented Cosmetic
Pesticide Ban Act.

Advertisement

 

“Every
medical report or claim made by activists could not be supported by fact,”
Lowes said. “In most cases, fabricated information was used. We are currently
looking into the millions of dollars paid to activists through the Trillium
Foundation, and we have our concerns over large sums of money transferred
directly to some groups and individuals with direct ties to the Minister’s
office.”

 

Gue,
a health and environmental policy analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation, will
address the foundation’s perspectives in favour of a cosmetic pesticide ban.

 

Keynote
speaker for the conference is Kelly Smith, a former Paralympic marathon silver
medalist, whose topic is, “Attitude is everything.”

 

Born
in Texas yet raised in Kamloops, B.C., Smith was left partially paralyzed in
1991 following a rock climbing accident. Following two years of rehabilitation
in Vancouver, he pursued a new career as an air traffic controller at Boundary
Bay Airport near Vancouver and rediscovered his enthusiasm for sport in white
water kayaking, downhill skiing and particularly wheelchair racing.

 

He
began wheelchair racing in 1996 and found quick success, becoming a member of
the Canadian National Team in 1998. He has earned several top 10 finishes
around the world and is the Canadian record holder in the 5,000 metres. He has
become an ambassador for sport by promoting the values of active living and has
inspired children to believe in themselves, focus on ability—not disability—and
to live their dreams.

 

Other
scheduled speakers and their topics include:

 


Dr. James Murphy, Rutgers University and Dr. Thomas Nikolai of Michigan State
University — “Anthracnose on poa putting greens” and “Managing traffic stress
on intensely used sports fields.” Murphy’s role as extension specialist at
Rutgers includes conducting an applied research and extension program in
turfgrass science and management in which the areas of study include the
evaluation of germplasm and best management practices to improve plant stress
tolerance and the promotion of environmental stewardship. Nikolai is the
turfgrass academic specialist at Michigan State University and a faculty member
of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America where he specializes
in green speed management issues. He spent 10 years working on golf courses and
10 years working as a turfgrass research technician.

 


Eddie Konrad, retired mechanic, Toronto Ladies’ Club — “Neglect your equipment
and neglect your turf,” “Hydraulic safety” and “A day at the Ladies’” Konrad
worked 23 years at the Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto as its head mechanic, was a
director of the Golf Equipment Technicians Association of Canada, and currently
writes a column for CGSA’s GreenMaster publication. He also teaches reel
technology as a contract professor at Seneca College in Ontario.

 


Larry Gilhuly, USGA agronomist — “Organ-ick! The bane of good growing and
playing conditions.” Gilhuly has been director of the USGA’s western and
northwest regions (including Western Canada) for the past 15 years and has
consulted with hundreds of golf courses on agronomic, playability, management
and environmental issues.

 


Mario Lanthier, CropHealth advising and research — “Weed management without
Roundup: the European experience.” Lanthier has been teaching the British
Columbia pesticide applicator certificate course at the WCTA since 2003.

 


Karen Cummins, horticulturalist, Storey Creek Golf Course, Campbell River, B.C.
— “Sustainable horticultural practices.” Cummins is currently focused on
sustainable horticulture practices and landscape design, and is an ISA
certified arborist.

 


Greg Anderson, Northwest Valve/Mearl’s Machine Works — “Control valves” and
“Stump the pump guy.” Anderson specializes in pump station design and
installation as well as control valve applications.

 

A
pre-conference seminar, entitled “Developing your root zone for optimum turf
health and performance” will be held Sunday, Jan. 31. Presiding over the
seminar will be Carmen Magro of Advanced Sensor Technology and Matt Shaffer of
the Merion Golf Club, site of the 2009 Walker Cup and 2013 U.S. Open.

 

The
WCTA conference, which is being held at the new Vancouver Island Conference
Centre, will also include the pest management and B.C. pesticide applicator’s
certificate seminar and test, Jan. 29-31, the Dave Creamer Memorial Hockey Game
at the Frank Crane Arena on Jan. 30, and a bus tour on Feb. 2 to the Serauxman
sports field complex under the guidance of Jim Plasteras of the City of
Nanaimo Parks.

 

Additionally,
recently retired WCTA executive director Bob Wick and his wife Charlotte will
be honoured during the Tuesday night banquet.

 

The
trade show will be held Feb. 1 and 2, featuring more than 100 exhibitor booths
totalling 15,000 square feet of show area.

 

For
more information about the conference and trade show, visit www.wctaturf.com.