Suburban mayors refuse agglo pest-control takeover bid

By Rhonda Massad

Montreal’s 15 demerged suburbs have unanimously refused an offer to band with the boroughs of Montreal to centralize efforts to eradicate the emerald ash borer (EAB) under the control of the urban Agglomeration Council.

Réal Ménard, Montreal’s executive committee member in charge of parks and green spaces, summoned them and representatives of Montreal’s nine boroughs to an EAB summit, March 10, during which the agglo offered to take over the pest control effort.

According to Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson this would not benefit the demerged cities financially.

“We can take care of this ourselves,” Gibson said. “We don’t want anyone telling us what we can do on our own territory.”

Since the deadly Asian insect was first detected on the island of Montreal three years ago, it has spread to hundreds of trees. Montreal has already spent $3 million on the problem and Ménard said that he plans to take immediate action this spring to inoculate as many trees as possible.

The Kirkland Mayor expressed that in an ideal world, he would prefer the emerald ash borer problem be addressed at the Montreal Metropolitan Community level. 

“At a higher level, the problem can be addressed beyond the island of Montreal,” he said. “That is critical to containing the problem on a wider scale and for a longer term.”

At this time, there is no known way to cure an infected tree, but there is an inoculation available for trees surrounding an infected tree.

The treatment is injected directly into the tree, containing the otherwise-toxic pesticide within the bark.

The process must be administered professionally and costs up to $500 per tree for two annual treatments.

The inoculation isn’t guaranteed to ward off the pest, but it is the only preventative measure currently available.

The city of Dollard des Ormeaux has already committed to spend $250,000 over the next five years, in an effort to protect core areas.

The island of Montreal is currently home to 300,000 ash trees which are now at risk.

Ménard still needs to assess how many ash trees trees grow on private property and devise a means to educate the population on how best to respond to the EAB threat.
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