Feds should pay for ash tree removal: Ainslie

Scarborough East councillor Paul Ainslie suggested the federal government foot the bill for Scarborough residents who are looking into removing their ash trees due to beetle infestation.

His motion, passed by the city’s parks and environment committee, is up for debate at city council this week.

Ainslie suggested that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has the funds to compensate Scarborough citizens who wish to remove the trees from their property.

Ash trees are susceptible to the emerald ash borer, a beetle that is estimated to kill almost every ash tree in the Greater Toronto Area within the next 10 years.

Chair of Toronto’s parks, forestry and recreation, Norm Kelly, said the city picked up on the existence of the beetle in 2007.

“This is a little tiny beetle about a quarter to a half an inch that landed on our shores … about roughly 2002 to 2003,” he said. “[It] came over from China.”

Kelly claims the value of the ash trees could be up to one billion dollars.

There are approximately 800,000 ash trees around Toronto.

With files from Jessica Lee