Cobourg will fight the Emerald Ash Borer
Cobourg council learned this week that $50,000 will be set aside in the 2013 budget to fight the Emerald Ash Borer.
In a report delivered at the committee of the whole meeting, the potential impact of the insect to ash trees was outlined, along with the news that — though the species has been identified in neighbouring municipalities — it has not yet been identified in Cobourg.
The report from manager of engineering Teresa Behan and arbourist Rory Quigley recommended implementation of the six-part Emerald Ash Borer management plan and study prepared in April by University of Toronto master's student of forestry conservation Gina Brouwer:
• Making an inventory of the town's ash population, taking into account location and condition of each, at a cost of $4,500.
• Implementing an inspection and monitoring program at a cost of $5,000.
• Establishing cultural practice procedures and treatment options at a cost of $10,000.
• Ensuring proper disposal of infected trees, with $8,000 required to purchase a tub grinder that has worked well for other municipalities.
• Conducting a public awareness and education strategy at a cost of $2,500.
• Begin a tree-planting program to offset potential ash losses at a cost of $20,000.
Prevention is the key, Councillor Miriam Mutton said.
In spite of the $50,000 price tag, Mutton said, "it would be more cost effective to take a proactive approach to protecting our trees rather than wait for them to die. The cost of removing them would be significant."
She estimates that as many as 700 trees on public lands could be at risk.
Councillor Donna Todd pointed out that no federal or provincial funding is available to help with the costs. She also wondered if some kind of tax incentive might be available for home owners who take preventive measures for at-risk trees on their own land.
"Once they compile the inventory, it's something we should look into," Mayor Gil Brocanier said.