The insect poses a serious problem, councillors said Wednesday as they unanimously agreed to provide extra money from a reserve fund following a motion from River Councillor Maria McRae and Mayor Jim Watson.
The city can afford to spend money on fighting the insect and saving the tree canopy, said McRae, who chairs council’s environment committee, “but we can’t afford not to. We need to get out there and get more of these trees planted.
“You can’t drive down a street in different parts of our wards without seeing the ravaging effect of the emerald ash borer,” McRae said.
Councillors Diane Deans (Gloucester-Southgate) and Keith Egli (Knoxdale-Merivale) said the city should call on the federal government for funding, and McRae later added that she and staff were already looking at sending a joint letter.
McRae said also that she hopes the city will buy larger trees for planting, “so we’re not just getting the little spindly toothpicks” that don’t always stand the test of dry weather.
The ash borer, a bright green beetle from Asia, was first seen in Ottawa in July 2008, and has led to the destruction and removal of ash trees from Orléans to Kanata.