“We didn’t sow grass very deliberately and intentionally. We don’t want to mow our lawn. We don’t want a lawn, actually – we want a meadow, ”said Maisionneuve, landscaper.
The municipality told the couple that a neighbor complained that the yard – filled with milkweed, thistles, purple asters, Queen Anne’s lace and other flowers that attract pollinators – had reduced the value of neighboring properties.
Maisonneuve rejects this assertion.
“We think it’s a lot nicer than the scorched, mown and brown lawns of our neighbors right now,” she says.
Request to catalog plants
Cloutier, a custom home builder and metal maker, said he received a call from a city worker who told him the city would sue the couple over the tall plants.
La Pêche regulations require lawns to be kept less than 15 centimeters.
Cloutier also defended his yard, saying plants and flowers are valuable to pollinators and calling it healthier than a yard with short grass.
I think any judge in court would use their common sense and say, “Hey, we’re wasting our time here.– Samuel Cloutier
The municipality, Cloutier said, told them it could keep the yard if it hired a biologist to list the various wildflowers growing on the property.
But when they paid the biologist $ 400 and sent photos and descriptions to the municipality, the municipality rejected the report, said Cloutier, as it did not include a site map with the locations of the flowers.
Cloutier said he told the municipality he would no longer spend money on flower reporting and now congratulated himself on being able to fight legally.
“It is insulting. It’s quite surprising that in 2020 we’re having this discussion right now, ”Cloutier said.
“I think any judge in court would use their common sense and say, ‘Hey, we’re wasting our time here. “”
Campaign for wild lawns
Dispute comes as Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) campaigns urging utility providers and municipalities not to spray and allow public lands, power corridors and rights-of-way to develop with pollinator-friendly flowers and vegetation.
CWF researcher Carolyn Callaghan said the campaign is targeting approximately 6.2 million private residential lawns in Canada.
“As Canadians, many of us have a long-standing love affair with [a] lawn cut and mowed. We think it’s neat and tidy and beautiful, “said Callaghan.
“Unfortunately, it’s a desert – it doesn’t support a lot of species, and it certainly doesn’t support pollinators because there are no flowers. “
An “obsolete” by-law, says the mayor
In an email to CBC News, the mayor of La Pêche, Guillaume Lamoureux, said the by-law was “outdated and unenforceable”.
Lamoureux said he was not aware of a case where a homeowner had been fined under the bylaw, and he would like that removed at a future review.
He pointed out a recent grant of $ 10,000 to the local honey producer outside the Apiverte network as proof of the municipality’s alignment with environmental objectives.
“People who wish to encourage pollinators and wildlife are free to do so, but should try to limit the spread of invasive species or allergens,” he writes.
Lamoureux also said he was not sure the municipality would keep its threat to sue Cloutier and Maisonneuve.