190 a tree and counting

Norfolk finally sees light at the end of the tunnel in its multi-year campaign to eliminate dead and dying ash trees from county property.The county’s plan for 2019 was to remove another 717 trees.However –thanks to a favourable tender process – the county has a surplus in its tree-cutting budget and is in a position to exceed this total through a second round of bids.The successful bidder for this year’s contract is Cutting Edge Tree Service of Delhi. Cutting Edge will oversee this year’s removal program at a cost of $138,360.“I think that’s a good rate — $190 a tree,” Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus told Norfolk council this week.Norfolk set aside $200,000 for ash removal earlier this year. The favourable tender leaves more than $60,000 on the table. Bill Cridland, Norfolk’s general manager of community services, says this is enough to warrant a second round of tenders.“There will be approximately 638 ash trees remaining along county roadsides, mostly within the former townships of Windham, Middleton and Houghton,” Adam Biddle, Norfolk’s supervisor of forestry, said in his report to council.“There will also be additional ash tree removal required along county trail networks such as the Delhi Rail Trail, Waterford Heritage Trail, Lynn Valley Trail and Norfolk Sunrise Trail.”The ash trees at issue are dead because the emerald ash borer – an invasive insect from Asia – made its way to this part of North America about 30 years ago. Authorities suspect the insect arrived in contaminated crates or shipping pallets.Since then, ash borer larvae have killed ash trees from Michigan through Ontario and onward to Quebec and eventually the east coast.The pest is so devastating because it has no natural checks on its population in this part of the world. Authorities hope it disappears once it runs out of its primary food source.This is the fifth year Norfolk has cleared dead ash trees from municipal property. The devastation has cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars while punching holes in roadside landscaping and parkland and woodland canopies.“Forestry staff have identified high-risk ash trees along county roads in addition to trees adjacent to residential lots in the rural area that should be removed,” Biddle says in his report.“These trees are dead or dying and present a significant risk to the public living within these areas and travelling county roads.”[email protected] read more