"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Stout Hearts and Willing Hands

I have a story to tell  today, so ridiculous ,itis not to be believed.

We have been discussing for several months  what to do, what to do, about the anticipated loss of ash trees from an infestation
 emerald ash beetles travelling north since 2002

They came from Korea in shipping ballets. First appeared in Chicago.No sure fire method of fighting off the invasion has been developed. Oakville , an area of consideable wealth, is trying something very expensive.

Worst case scenario,in a decade and a half in a gradual  pace  all ash trees may be destroyed.

Not all elm trees were destroyed by Dutch Elm Disease but most were.

Nobody knows for sure.But it's a blight alright.

The town's plan is to cut down  trees as they become infected and replace them with another species.

Acquire land and plant a nursery to have a supply of trees. They  would take seven years to mature.

The dreaded lurgy has already appeared in two trees in Aurora. 

The town has twenty three hundred ash trees in parks and boulevards. There is  no estimate of how many are on private property.

Council  already approved a staff  recommendation for a plan. problem .

The Financial officer'  advised no need to budget for the plan this year.  .

Last night we received a  new  option from staff at the request
of council on a motion from Councillor Abel. .

This is the part I am finding hard to believe. .

It's  presented as  pro-active .

Some  residents  might be  upset when they see the ash tree on the boulevard in front of their home is infested and must be removed.

The town is going to provide an  option.

If  the resident wants to  save  the tree in  the boulevard that belongs to the town, , the town will accept their funds  and try to save the tree.No guarantee mind you. We will  encourage them to spend their money to save our tree and if it dies....tough.

The pesky beetle is going to be around as long as there are ash trees. potential success of the effort is nil to zero.

But the town will offer it as a realistic option.

We  will add $136,000 to the 2012 budget to finance the plan.

Council , including the Mayor, voted for the plan at  committee last night.

Councillor Ballard was absent.

The recommendation will go forward to Council next Tuesday..

If passed we  will re-open the 2012 budget  and at a cost of  $136,000  we will  create an  illusion of stout hearts and willing hands.

Nobody even asked us to do it.

Half the Council will become  the darlings of the populace forever.

Kind of like the emerald ash borer


Anonymous said...

Only the darlings of some of the populace and it certainly won't be forever. Actually there are not too many residents who could afford to save an ash tree on their own property never mind one on the street. So there may not be any takers for the plan.
The question is where the $136,000 figure comes from. Sounds as though initially it will just be advertising the plan. Why the high figure when active fighting is not about to get under way? Who's figure is this? Because that type of question can cause pain down the road.

Anonymous said...

How to put this politely? OK. Councillor Abel may have been miss-informed and may then be miss-informing Council. If you check with the big tree companies, like Van Dyke's etc, they will tell you if they are being honest that the current rules of the use of certain pesticides are making their job a nightmare. Bug out-breaks that used to be controllable now just spread and they are VERY limited in what they can use to defend the trees. To imply you can save a taxpayers' favourite tree could even invite lawsuits so Aurora should be extremely careful with sticking their necks out on a limb so fragile.
A comparison easier to understand is if you see how the dandelions have gotten out of control. The gardeners are unable to use the chemicals that will eliminate them.
Sorry, Provincial laws make saving a lot of our trees impossible. Councillor Abel needs to watch where he spends money when people are learning every year what can and cannot be done.

Anonymous said...

It's not the first time that Abel has gone in half-assed.

Anonymous said...

What on earth is next , can we expect to see the tree huggers out there with fly swatters in hand knocking these little blighters silly , If they thought Beacon Hall was an environmental calamity they haven’t seen anything yet , Bring on the Borer and watch the tree huggers turtle, oh and while they are at it why not pass a by-law banning the Emerald Ash Borer from Aurora

Anonymous said...

Aurora knows Zip about trees. This is dumb.

Tim the Enchanter said...

We need to maintain a pragmatic approach on this issue.

After Googling a few websites it's fairly clear that the Emerald Ash Borer - EAB - is the clear winner once it infects a tree.

Standard policy seems to be 'remove and replace'.

Pesticide treatment - apparently TreeAzin is the stuff - is showing iffy results at best.
Personally, I don't see the economic sense or environmental advantage in spending money on a pesticide treatment that at best, may postpone the death of the tree.

Good info at City of Toronto for those who care to have a look.

Anonymous said...

You wouldn't live in Aurora if you didn't love the big old trees. This is not about who likes trees more than others. It is about throwing good money at a problem knowing that it is wasteful and entirely useless. There is space available on the Blogs. If Councillor Abel wishes to make his case for spending money on a vain attempt to save the ash trees, the forum is his for the taking. Otherwise he should recall his pre-election speech at the meeting held by the sports groups. I remember what he said about spending - does he?

Anonymous said...

Other councillors spoke at the Sports meeting. They also promised to be fiscally accountable. Not Just Councillor Abel. I also clearly heard Mayor Dawe on the subject as well as Councillors Thompson and Humphreyes. Councillor Ballard has already stated that our taxes are too high.
Let's see how they deal with this particular boondoggle and then assess.

Anonymous said...

We can re-open budget discussions because of tree-bugs that cannot be defeated? Does not compute.

Anonymous said...

Councillor Pirri might have fallen for the public art thing, but I expect he has done his research into the Emerald Ash borers.