Located on the eastern edge of the Golden Horseshoe in Southern Ontario, the City of Oshawa has joined the growing list of municipalities committing to taking actions to help pollinators! The City maintains several formal pollinator and community gardens. It has also amended its boulevard by-law to encourage planting for pollinators and is working to reduce mowing and increase naturalization in parks and areas adjacent to water.
The City has had staffing issues, so has been unable to pursue more activities relating to Bee City. The city does still maintain all the regular gardens throughout the City and has some specific pollinator gardens as well.
The City has had a Pesticide Program in place prior to the Ban. The City has a contractor that hand pulls Wild and Cow Parsnip. We use Ecoclear or steaming on the downtown area sidewalks when required. Try to increase the areas that are not mowed to increase naturalized areas.
The biggest challenge is shifting the perspective of citizens from a mindset that considers lawns or parks with weeds as undesirable, or un-raked lawns over winter as unsightly, or that heavily mown areas are more attractive than naturalization, etc. We will continue to leverage social media and other tools to educate the public and promote a paradigm shift in public attitude. This will require sustained and consistent messaging and outreach for many years to come.
Oshawa was one of the first municipalities in Ontario to eliminate the broad use of pesticides, preceding the Ontario provincial cosmetic pesticide ban of 2009 by many years. An Integrated Pest Management Plan was adopted in the early 2000s for our Turf Management, Horticulture, and Forestry sections. Pesticides are only used in specialized cases such as in our greenhouse or in extreme circumstances like management of the Emerald Ash Borer (i.e. injections of high-value trees) or noxious weeds.
• The City of Oshawa was one of the first Municipalities in Canada to incorporate a Pest Management Program for City land prior to the Pesticide Act coming into effect. A program was created to help keep the turf healthy without the use of pesticides. Education included newspaper ads, radio ads, flyers and workshops. We educated Councilors, residents and user groups about alternatives to pesticides. The City will continue to comply with the Pesticides Act which includes not using pesticides for cosmetic purposes.
• The City’s Boulevard By-Law was amended to encourage pollinator planting on City boulevards, as long as they obey the height restrictions.
• Oshawa has five formal pollinator gardens, and four community gardens with pollinator plants all throughout them. The City also has 190 formal annual and perennial gardens that beautify the city as well as flowering hanging baskets in the downtown area. Many of these flowering plants provide pollen to various species of insects.
• The City also ensures, as much as possible, that any waterways have a buffer area that is not mowed to increase naturalization and to protect the water and are incorporating low mow or no mow areas in to new and existing parks.