Bees, Butterflies, By-laws and Weed Wackers
Turn a tragedy into a greener future…
August 16, 2022 (London) – Friends of the Earth Canada condemns the wanton destruction of Susan McKee’s pollinator garden by London city workers. However, rather than focus on recriminations and finger pointing, Friends of the Earth is urging London to modernize its antiquated property maintenance By-laws to bring them in line with pollinator policies already adopted within its official plan.
“Gardens are no longer just an ascetic issue. They can be beautiful while offering an important urban sanctuary for pollinators and buffering the impacts of climate change, said John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth Canada.
Friends of the Earth, along with many of its supporters, have petitioned London’s Planning and Environment Committee to quash the fine and costs levied against Ms. McKee and to modernize the existing By-laws to allow London gardeners the freedom to plant natural gardens, grow food and create habitat for pollinators and butterflies.
“Planting a pollinator garden shouldn’t be an act of civil disobedience,” said Mr. Bennett “Gardeners like Susan (McKee) should be given awards not fines!”
The Friends of the Earth’s submission notes that it is a critical time for municipalities to do all they can to support biodiversity. They recommend four specific actions London and all municipalities can take:
- Modernize the relevant By-laws to address only those plants and properties which threaten health and safety of residents, or that are invasive and threaten natural areas;
- Require complainants under the By-law to specify how a garden is out of compliance;
- Remove language from the By-law and any explanatory materials that is subjective or based upon aesthetic interpretation; and,
- Provide training to By-law enforcement officials to ensure they are knowledgeable about native plants versus weeds that threaten health and safety of residents and informed about terms of modernized by-laws.
“It would be great if this tragic incident spurs London to take a leadership position,” said Mr. Bennett.
For media inquiries: John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth Canada
Friends of the Earth Canada is the Canadian member of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network campaigning on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues