NEWMARKET – York Regional Council today allocated $210,000 in capital reserve funds to help combat the threat of the Asian Long-horned Beetle (ALHB).
“We cannot afford to underestimate the threat that the Asian Long-horned Beetle poses to our forests,” said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch. “It is imperative that we commit sufficient funds and personnel to eradicating this pest now, before the infestation has a chance to spread.”
In September 2003, the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) – the Federal agency responsible for the regulation of agriculture pests – announced the discovery of the ALHB in an industrial area in the City of Vaughan and the City of Toronto. York Region has worked closely with the CFIA, the City of Vaughan, the City of Toronto and other stakeholder groups since the discovery.
The decision by Regional Council not only dedicates funds to combat the ALHB, it also authorizes:
• Staff to continue assisting CFIA with ongoing survey, eradication and control activities
• Staff to submit costs to CFIA for reimbursement on survey work, removal and disposal activities
• The Regional Chair to press the CFIA for an Ontario Action Plan for dealing with the ALHB and funds to support tree re-planting
At a media conference on November 12, 2003, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lyle Vanclief announced that CFIA will make funds available to compensate stakeholder groups for costs incurred in the survey and eradication of the ALHB.
“We’re very pleased to see that the Federal government recognizes the severity of this threat, and will be compensating its partners,” said City of Vaughan Mayor Michael Di Biase. “However, serious consideration must be given to funding for rehabilitation and replacement efforts after the trees are removed.”
The funds allocated by York Regional Council include:
• $145,000 for surveying
• $40,000 for eradication, tree removal and disposal
• $5,000 for communication and public education
• $20,000 for contingency and administration
The Region will carefully monitor costs in order to accurately request reimbursement from the CFIA.
The ALHB is an invasive quarantine insect native to Asia; know to kill many varieties of healthy deciduous trees. While it poses no risk to public health, it is a significant risk to Canada’s trees and forests. It has no natural predators here and there are no pesticides authorized for use in Canada to prevent its spread.
Efforts to eliminate the ALHB threat by removing infected trees – and potentially infected trees 400 metres around the infected area – have already begun. The CFIA has already conducted a limited tree cutting for purposes of studying the beetle.
Should the beetle be found, residents are urged to call the CFIA hotline at 1-800-442-2342. CFIA staff will assess all reports and send inspectors if necessary.
Residents are urged not to transport the beetle, or remove potentially affected trees.
For more information on the ALHB update, please view the report online or visit www.region.york.on.ca
under Regional Government > Council Agendas, Minutes and Reports > Council Minutes 2003 > November 20, 2003.