Abandon the lawn mowing bylaw

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The city of Moncton is proposing a bylaw that would institute fines of up to $2,100 for homeowners who let their grass grow taller than 20 centimeters. This latest treatment of the citizens of Moncton as cash cows is unacceptable. This bylaw will force some home and business owners to expend more time and resources to combat a non-existent problem of long grass. 

We, the undersigned, OPPOSE the creation of a lawn mowing bylaw in the City of Moncton for the following reasons:

1. The bylaw is vague enough to be abused. By not defining clearly the minimum size of a patch of 'grass and weeds' considered to be 'too long' it can and likely will open citizens and businesses to undue harassment from bylaw enforcement for things as simple as a few stalks of timothy near a building. With the expectation of using the law as a revenue generator, it is likely that this will be the case.

2. It is not environmentally sound. If the city is truly committed to 'green spaces', it must be reminded that these green spaces are not just for aesthetics. Green plants provide much needed oxygen production and cutting them constantly hampers their efforts causing them to produce less. 

Lawns are often treated with artificial fertilizers and pesticides or herbicides to remove unwanted dandelions and other weeds. When your family and pets walk or play on the lawn, those chemicals get absorbed through the skin. The runoff from these chemicals is a major source of groundwater pollution. 

3. Fuel Consumption and carbon footprint. By mowing lawns more often, more pollution is released into the air. This fuel consumption, thanks to federal efforts, costs even more with the newly added carbon tax. 

For every hour a gardener runs a gas-powered lawn mower, they produce the same pollution as driving a car for 320 kilometers. Annually, gas-powered lawn mowers create about 80,000 tons of greenhouse gases and use 151 million liters (4 million gallons) of gasoline. (Source - GreenMoxie, Huffington Post)

4. The argument 'It just looks better' is not valid. "Its Pretty" doesn't justify forcing people to expend their finite resources. Many people in the city that would be targets of these fines are low income and are barely getting by as it is. Not being able to afford a lawn care service, having a disability, or even requiring 2 jobs to pay your mortgage therefore not having the time for regular lawn maintenance should not be reason for punishment.

5. Property values will be affected. It is not in the best interest of the property owner for his property assessment to be raised, and therefore it only benefits the city tax collectors. This is another seemingly valid argument disguised as a way to squeeze more money from the citizens.

6. Health and Safety. In today's safety culture, it seems counter-intuitive to encourage citizens to engage more in an activity that is proven to be a danger. More than 253,000 people were treated for injuries from lawn mowers in 2010. Almost 17,000 of those injuries were to children under the age of 19. The average lawnmower produces sounds that are 95 dB and above while the ‘safe’ sound level is 85 dB and below. That means that prolonged exposure to the sound of a lawn mower can significantly contribute to hearing loss.

In conclusion, the people of Moncton, or any other city of New Brunswick, should not be burdened further with this selective tax by bylaw enactment, or required to expend additional resources in the pursuit of an aesthetic. This bylaw serves only to generate another avenue of revenue and intrude further into the lives of the citizens.

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