60,000 ash trees to be cut to
By Pat Currie
LONDON, Ont.-More than 60,000 ash trees will be destroyed
over the next 10 weeks in a last-ditch effort to halt
the spread of the emerald ash borer across Ontario.
It will be the largest tree removal operation in Ontario
And after being criticized for reacting slowly to the
beetle threat, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has
stirred further protest by announcing there will be no
compensation for land owners with the trees in a 25-kilometre-long,
10-kilometre-wide "ash-free zone" to be cleared
between lakes St. Clair and Erie in Chatham-Kent.
The bug has already killed 200,000 trees in and around
Windsor after being detected two years ago, it has destroyed
more than 1 million trees in Michigan, and it threatens
the rest of Ontario's 1 billion ash trees.
Ten thousand trees have already been cut in infected
areas in Essex County, said Ken Marchant, a Guelph-based
CFIA tree specialist.
Marchant said the Chatham-Kent firebreak could also be
extended north as far as the Lambton corridor - an undefined
ash-free swath running some 60 kilometres to Sarnia and
perhaps another 180 kilometres along the eastern shore
of Lake Huron as far north as Southampton.
The corridor contains hundreds of thousands "if
not millions" of ash trees.
The cull in Chatham-Kent is expected to begin Jan. 26,
to meet the agency's March 31 deadline for tree removal.
"People around here aren't very happy about it,"
said Tom Mifflin, whose father Clark stands to lose 200
ash trees in his woodlot near Merlin.
"Basically this area is a treeless plain and this
is just going to make things worse," Mifflin said.
"We've heard the borer has already been found on
Walpole Island and east of the so-called firebreak. If
that's true, the firebreak is an exercise in futility,"
said Merlin-area farmer Blake Vince.