Liz Mallett says when she was notified a few weeks ago that JD Irving would be spraying a controversial herbicide called glyphosate on Crown land near her home in Parkindale, she was instantly fearful.
“It is considered a carcinogenic in many countries and, in fact, California has banned it as a carcinogenic,” Mallett said.
As a member of the group Stop Spraying New Brunswick, Mallett said local clear-cutting has already caused silt to build up and choke off the brook near her home. She said she’s fearful that continued spraying of glyphosate will kill the few fish left in the waters.
“Now they are going to spray all that and they are saying that is not going to come down into the brook, but I do not believe that is possible,” she said.
Looking for answers, she and a group of about 25 protesters gathered outside the Petitcodiac village office on Tuesday where a representative from JD Irving was scheduled to speak before council about their spray program.
Moncton resident Erin Brooks was at the protest and said the spraying is a problem.
“Spraying is not healthy for the environment or the creatures living in it,” Brooks said.
But Petitcodiac Mayor Jerry Gogan says he cancelled the meeting saying the Irving representative was not a scientist and would be unable to address the residents’ environmental and health concerns.
WATCH: Protestors gathered outside the government building before house sittings resumed showing their disapproval with the use of glyphosate spraying on crown lands. As Global’s Jeremy Keefe tells us tonight, with their cause growing to tremendous heights, the province is being forced to take notice but remains hesitant to heed their requests.
He’s hoping, instead, to hold a public information session inviting JD Irving, the New Brunswick Conservation Council and residents to address any environment and health concerns.
He said many of the environment and health concerns are ones he also shares.
“As far as being a probable cancer-causing agent, I don’t think we should be spraying it on our land at all,” Gogan said.
He says the spraying would take place outside village limits and has been going on for years.
But given the growing health and environmental concerns over the use of the herbicide, he’s concerned about the village’s well-water supplies and wildlife in the area, noting a decrease in the deer population.
In June, New Brunswick’s acting medical officer of health said the province will continue to monitor the use of glyphosate in the province, but that decision is not good enough for this group that wants the spraying to stop now.
“We have over 30,000 signatures from people who are adamant against spraying,” Mallett said.
“I mean we have not learned our lesson with DDT and with the spruce budworm spray that we used to use before, we have not learned anything from that?” Gogan questioned.
Irving did not respond to a request for an interview with Global News by publication.
Concerned residents are hoping the public information session will take place soon before spraying begins. The spraying is scheduled to occur between Tuesday and Sept. 15.