• John Jantak

Pincourt receives provincial grant to combat ragweed


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

From left to right – Frédéric Morin, Pincourt Head of Division-Operations, Councillor Sam Ierfino, Councillor Claudine Girouard-Morel, Soulanges Liberal MNA Lucie Charlebois, Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal, Vaudreuil Liberal MNA Marie-Claude Nichols, Councillor Denise Bergeron, Councillor René Lecavalier and Councillor Diane Morin at a press conference at the Omni-Centre on May 4 to announce a $32,910 provincial grant for ragweed control.

A $32,910 provincial grant was announced at a press conference last Friday, May 3, at the Omni-Centre in Pincourt to help the municipality reduce the prevalence of ragweed within its territory as part of its ongoing control strategy aptly named Mission Ragweed.

The announcement was made by Lucie Charlebois, the provincial Liberal MNA for Soulanges, Minister for the Montérégie region, and Minister for Rehabilitation, Youth Protection, Public Health and Healthy Living; Vaudreuil Liberal MNA Marie-Claude Nichols and Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal.

Pincourt is one of eight Quebec municipalities that received government grants totalling $241,200 in the fight against ragweed. Three other Montérégie municipalities – Chambly, Longueuil and Sorel-Tracy received individual grants totalling $83,425.

Severe problem

Ragweed is the main cause of allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, and affects one out every 10 people in Quebec. The allergic symptoms begin around mid-July and persist until the first frost. Severe reactions can result in workplace absenteeism and emergency medical treatments that have a negative effect on the provincial economy.

“Our government is taking action because ragweed brings complications and affects the quality of life of many Quebecers. We are continuing to mobilize resources to ensure the municipalities funded by this program are able to protect citizens through the implementation of these types of innovative initiatives for our communities,” said Charlebois.

PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

Though the allergen is prolific and its seeds can lie dormant for decades, once identified, ragweed is very easy to remove from the soil with just a gentle tug.

Prolific noxious weed

Ragweed is a prolific noxious weed that can eventually dominate fields, lawns and yards if it isn’t kept in check. A single plant can produce up to 3000 seeds and each seed can remain dormant for up to 40 years before it finally germinates.

“I welcome the provincial funding that has been made available to the various municipalities, particularly to Pincourt, whose project is a good example. The active participation from its residents to help curb the growth and spread of ragweed will continue to benefit current and future citizens,” said Nichols.

Sensitization campaign

Cardinal was pleased his municipality received the grant, saying it will enable to the town to continue its sensitization campaign to encourage residents to identify the plant and remove it from their respective properties if they spot it. “It’s another big project for Pincourt that affects all our citizens. Ragweed is a problem for everyone. Every year, people contact city hall to ask what we can do about it,” Cardinal told The Journal.

The grant will also allow Pincourt to expand the Mission Ragweed program that was established by Frédéric Morin, Head of Division-Operations. Adults and children will also be taught to identify the plant. While the challenge may seem daunting, ragweed is one of the easiest weeds to remove. A gentle tug at the stem will remove the entire plant including the root.

All the projects are financed as part of the Quebec Strategy for the Reduction of Ragweed and Other Allergen Pollens, a program funded by the Green Fund from the 2013-2020 Action Plan on Climate Change. The projects were selected based on various selection criteria, including the mobilization of local partners to carry out dedicated ragweed control strategies.