On Monday, city council awarded a $317,000 contract to Novafor Inc. to apply a biopesticide treatment to protect ash trees from the destructive emerald ash borer beetle. It also awarded a $85,000 contract to Solutions Alternatives Environnement to provide urban forestry technical services for 2015.
Council also tabled the city’s action plan to deal with the ash borer beetle threat as well as a new bylaw concerning the fight against the spread of the destructive bug, which was detected in about a dozen traps set in Dorval last year.
The bylaw will prohibit the planting of new ash trees, requires ash trees that are dead or has at least 30-per-cent of its branches that have died to be felled. It also makes it compulsory for residents to treat their ash trees that are 20 centimetres or more in diameter, measured from 1.3 metres from the ground, with a pesticide that is good for two years. The bylaw also provides authorized city officials the right to inspect or take samples of ash trees on private property. Homeowners could face fines from $500 to $1,000 if they don’t comply with the provisions set by the EAB control bylaw.
The bylaw aims to make sure the ash borer problem is dealt with adequately,Mayor Edgar Rouleau said. “If you don’t fix it, (the city) will and we’ll send you the bill,” he added.
The forestry technician hired by the city will determine if trees should be cut or treated, Rouleau said, adding it’s not worth trying to save small ash trees with abiopesticide.
According to Dorval’s EAB action plan, there are about 4,000 to 6,000 ash trees on both private and public land, which accounts for about 20 per cent of the total forest canopy in the city. The 27-page document is to be posted on the city’s website in about two weeks.
Between 2015 and 2024, Dorval expects to invest about $3.4 million to deal with the EAB problem, which includes the treatment of ash trees to the planting of different trees on public lots.
Last year, Dorval launched a financial assistance program to encourage homeowners to treat their own ash trees. The city will offer to pay 50 per cent of the cost incurred for the treatment of trees on private property, up to a maximum of $1,500 per address.
The emerald ash borer, first found in Canada in 2002, has already destroyed about 80 million ash trees in North America