Saying it’s healthier for athletes, parks officials last week voted in favor of a recommendation to keep using pesticides on New Canaan athletic fields where it’s legal to do so. Referring to a consultant’s report that compared the surface hardness of a grass field treated with pesticides (Conner Field off of Farm Road) versus one that’s pesticide-free (Saxe Middle School’s), members of the Parks & Recreation Commission voted 7-1 during their regular meeting Dec. 9 to recommend to the Board of Selectmen that New Canaan continue a midsummer application of chemicals on fields at Conner, Mead Park and Waveny. In making the recommendation, the Commission referred to a memo from Parks Superintendent John Howe, New Canaan High School Athletic Director Jay Egan and Recreation Director Steve Benko saying fields that don’t use pesticides are harder and therefore more likely to cause concussions. The trio, identified as the “New Canaan Fields Committee,” cited a $3,000 “Core Performance Quality Standards Assessment” of Conner and Saxe fields from Tom Irwin Advisors of Burlington, Mass.
“Based on the information provided in the [Tom Irwin Advisors] report, the data shows that the use of pesticides on Conner Field has had a positive effect on the quality and safety of that field for athletic contests,” the memo said.