October 17, 2003

 York Region to press Federal and Provincial governments for funding to combat Asian Longhorned Beetle


NEWMARKET The Regional Municipality of York will be pressing the Federal and Provincial Governments for funding to combat the infestation of the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALHB).
"The presence of this destructive pest in York Region is the single greatest threat to ever face our forests," said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  "We need a long-term financial commitment from both senior levels of government to ensure that the situation is properly managed, and that any green spaces affected by this infestation are restored."
In September, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reported an infestation of the ALHB in an industrial area in the City of Vaughan that borders the City of Toronto.  Since that time, the CFIA has been working closely with York Region, the City of Vaughan, the City of Toronto and other stakeholder agencies to implement an aggressive campaign to control and eradicate this unwanted pest.
"This threat is immediate," said City of Vaughan Mayor Michael Di Biase.  "It is imperative that we continue to quickly and accurately identify the full extent of the infestation, designate a secure quarantine area for affected trees and aggressively educate our residents about the threat that this beetle poses."
A survey of the affected area is currently underway.  Because there is no natural control for the ALHB, trees in and around the infected area will have to be removed.
The Region is arranging to meet with representatives of the Federal and Provincial governments to discuss costs around the removal and replacement of trees.  During this time, York Region staff will prepare a budget to ensure that the necessary financial resources are in place to deal with the infestation now and throughout 2004. 
Monies from reserve funds will be used on an interim basis, until long-term funding can be secured from senior levels of government.  Staff will present the budget at Regional Council on November 20th. 
The beetle is an invasive quarantine insect native to Asia, known to kill healthy trees. While it poses no risk to public health, it is a significant risk to Canada's trees and forests. It has no natural controls in North America that would prevent its spread.
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.
Please see attached Fact Sheet on the ALHB for more information.
Additional resources can be found on the CFIA Web site at www.inspection.gc.ca
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.region.york.on.ca
Contact:   Michael Kemp, Corporate Communications, York Region
- (905) 830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1232
- Email: michael.kemp@region.york.on.ca

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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