Pesticides and Fertilizers to Reduce and Manage | News, Sports, Jobs
A bill that would reduce and manage pesticides and fertilizers used on county properties, including parks used for youth sports, passed second and final reading Tuesday by Maui County Council.
The council voted 8-0, with council member Tasha Kama excused, to approve the bill that would determine the categories of pesticides and fertilizers allowed or banned for use on county property.
“It shows that we are very responsible stewards of our keiki, our kupuna and the kai”, said Council member Shane Sinenci, who introduced the bill.
President Alice Lee pointed out that the county and the Department of Parks and Recreation had already taken steps to reduce pesticides and fertilizers when they replaced Bermuda grass at the municipal golf course years ago. Waiehu by seaside paspalum grass, which is doing well near the ocean. .
“It was a lot of money, a lot of work, (but) as a result very few herbicides are used”, said Lee, who is also an avid golfer.
But she added that it will take a little longer to work out so that no herbicides are used on the course in the future.
While the ordinance will take effect one year after it is approved for most properties in the county, the law will come into effect in three years for the Waiehu golf course and in two years for the War Memorial Stadium and Ichiro complex. “The iron” Maehara Baseball Stadium, according to Bill.
At a previous council committee meeting, the county parks department said it supports efforts to remove hazardous substances and use organic alternatives on golf courses, grounds and public parks. Beach parks are not treated with chemicals. Officials said only about 10 percent of the 3,000 acres managed by the department are currently sprayed, mostly high-intensity playgrounds.
Agencies can request a waiver of the new law if necessary before using a banned pesticide or fertilizer. The information necessary for the waiver will include the intended use, purpose of the request, location, costs, environmental conditions and other details.
The law would not apply to properties managed by the state or private owners, county farm parks or county properties used for agricultural purposes.
Witnesses in committee and at the plenary council meeting on Tuesday expressed concerns about the impacts of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers on the environment, including marine life. Others were concerned that young people play and participate in sports in parks.
“It’s about the parks. It is about the children. We have to make it safe ”, West Maui youth coach Junya Nakoa said Tuesday.
Nakoa, who has experience with pesticides in a former job, said he knows when they’re sprayed on playgrounds, so he doesn’t allow his youth teams to do push-ups or sit-ups. That day.
Soccer coach Thomas Creagh noted how he recently traveled to Keopuolani Park to practice soccer and noticed a sign on a lower court saying “do not enter the herbicides were sprayed.”
For him, it is a “Clear indication” that what was sprayed there is “not the healthiest thing for kids.”
He said he supported the bill and noted that other municipalities across the country have also instituted similar measures for their parks.
In other council business on Tuesday, members approved a bill at first reading that would exempt owners of portions of real estate designated as kuleana land or the government Kuleana Act granting land from the payment of property taxes, taxes overdue and penalties under certain conditions.
In 1850, the Kuleana Law granted commoners a fee simple title and allowed them to claim the lands they occupied and improved.
According to a report from the council committee, a representative from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs said legislation is needed because people with plots classified as kuleana land have been able to apply for tax relief from the county. Meanwhile, those who bought land from the government under the Kuleana Law, but whose plots are not classified as such, have been subject to increased property taxes.
The lack of tax relief has caused some direct descendants to lose title to their ancestral lands, the official said.
The bill will allow retroactive application of the exemption for the 2010 to 2031 assessment years, according to council documents.
* Melissa Tanji can be contacted at [email protected]