Golf club

UPDATE JULY 9 10:00 a.m.:

The Victoria Hills Golf Club has canceled their planned pesticide spraying.

“From a discussion we had just in the last hour, we’re not going to go ahead with the application,” Victoria Hills Golf Club general manager and pro Scott Wyckoff said. “We were within our rights, and believed we were doing the right thing in a safe way, but we are looking for alternatives that are better ecologically for the community.”


REPORTED JULY 8:

Some Victoria Park residents are up in arms — and terrified — after learning the Victoria Hills Golf Club plans to use a highly toxic pesticide on the golf course near their homes.

Members of the club were notified in a July 4 letter that the nematode-killer Curfew would be used on the golf course twice, including this week on Friday, July 10, and again on July 23.

The pesticide is legal for use only in five states, including Florida.

Karen Finstad, who lives on the edge of the golf course, was upset that she was not directly notified of the plan. She learned of it July 6 after a Golf Club member shared a letter sent by Victoria Hills Golf Club general manager and pro Scott Wyckoff.

Finstad called the Florida Department of Agriculture, and said she was told to stay inside her house for 24 to 72 hours after the pesticide application, to assure her safety.

Finstad is concerned, first, that many of her neighbors don’t know of the danger, and also, that if July 10 or 23 happen to be windy days, “This could affect all of DeLand.”

According to a spec sheet for Curfew published by manufacturer Dow AgroSciences, it is a “restricted-use” product “due to high acute inhalation toxicity and carcinogenicity.”

The Victoria Park Homeowners Association had an emergency meeting recently to address the problem, residents said.

“The HOA attorney deemed because they [the golf club] are a separate entity, they couldn’t make the golf course do anything,” Victoria Hills resident Sande Bautista said.

The golf club, and the property it sits on, were sold to private owners in February for $1.6 million, Volusia County property records show.

The Beacon called the golf club for comment, but has not received a return call.

Clay Ervin, director of Volusia County Growth and Resource Management, said he hadn’t been notified about the planned Curfew application, but that the state, not the county, regulates the pesticide use.

Notified by The Beacon, Ervin investigated any possible threat to water sources, and found none.

“My main concern is whether there are any well-heads or water-recharge areas,” Ervin said.

Ervin said he understands why residents are on edge.

“We realize the concern,” Ervin said. “No one is supposed to be on the site [after Curfew is applied] for at least 24 hours.”

Wyckoff’s letter says a 30-foot buffer will be marked with signs around the application area, and that entry won’t be allowed into that area for 24 hours.

“Do not pass signs will be installed through the golf course indicating that Curfew application has occurred,” the letter advises.