Though the title of the organically managed parks ordinance says “parks,” the ordinance says: “Grounds – means any and all parks, open space, trails, lawns, playgrounds, sports fields, rights-of-way and other real property owned or leased by the city of Durango, including all city-owned or leased areas adjacent to city-owned or leased buildings, but excluding the interior spaces of city owned or leased buildings.”
The city’s “grounds” include Hillcrest Golf Course, sports fields at Riverview and Folsom parks, new fields at Fort Lewis College, softball fields at FLC, all city streets, trails and open space.
This ordinance bans the use of all non-organic pesticides and all non-organic fertilizers unless there is a public health emergency. The unintended consequences of this ordinance are huge. The city will be forced to stop fogging for mosquitoes, until a public health emergency arises. West Nile virus and other mosquito-carried diseases will threaten our health and quality of life. Our trees will be compromised since there is no existing organic pesticide to treat boring insects that kill trees, and there will never be a public health emergency for our trees. Fees at Hillcrest will greatly increase and our young athletes will contend with ant mounds, patchy turf and possible gopher holes in our fields.
This petition, circulated at the farmers market, garnered enough signatures for the proposed ordinance to be an agenda item at the City Council meeting on Aug. 21. If this ordinance is rejected by City Council, it will be on the November ballot for city of Durango voters.
Please read the entire ordinance. In addition to what is listed above, the ordinance creates a new city staff position and invites civil action lawsuits against the city.
All residents want to ensure our children’s health and welfare, and we all want a healthy environment. However, the wording of this ordinance is too restrictive and extreme and will result in many intolerable unintended negative consequences. I urge the creators of this ordinance to remove it from consideration and work toward a more collaborative approach to accomplish their environmental goals.