Res­i­dents would like to know how to deal with ash borer

The Lindsay Post - - FORUM - PEGGY ARM­STRONG Peggy Arm­strong can be reached at peg­g­yarm­strong923@ya­

Driv­ing from Omemee to Peter­bor­ough in the early morn­ing a cou­ple of weeks ago, the traf­fic an­nouncer on the ra­dio told his lis­ten­ers it was a typ­i­cal morn­ing com­mute on all road­ways – prob­lem free. Af­ter al­most six years liv­ing here, I still love to hear those words. Com­ing from Toronto, it’s like hear­ing ev­ery morn­ing that I won the lot­tery, and not the kind that pops into my spam box ev­ery week.

But af­ter that fleet­ing mo­ment of a men­tal happy dance, the rest of the day and life in gen­eral is any­thing but prob­lem free. Some of the more press­ing prob­lems on my radar:

The sewer short­age in Omemee is now, af­ter more than a decade of de­lays, un­der con- struc­tion. That should mean that the build­ing re­stric­tions will lift like a par­a­lyz­ing fog in a mat­ter of months. Lift, and drift with men­ac­ing speed to­ward Fenelon Falls, alas. City staff cried ‘Hous­ton, we have a prob­lem’ at the city coun­cil meet­ing ear­lier this month, and brought a pro­posal to freeze de­vel­op­ment in that town due to the sewer sys­tem max­ing out.

How does that creep up? How do you not no­tice that de­velop- ment is out­pac­ing the avail­abil­ity of pipes and the flow of what goes down those pipes un­til the point where it metaphor­i­cally backs up, and hits the fan? With all the re­moval and re­place­ment of se­nior staff the past few years, did a ma­jor piece of in­fra­struc­ture up­grad­ing slip through the cracks, un­til some­body said, ‘oh s**t’?

Coun­cil­lors voted to send the is­sue back to staff for more study with­out hit­ting the freeze but­ton on con­struc­tion for now. It’s good to know what’s go­ing on. Bet­ter, though, is to over­haul the mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem to pre­vent other ar­eas in the city from reach­ing over­ca­pac­ity. And take ac­tion im­me­di­ately, be­fore Fenelon Falls dis­cov­ers what it’s like to have meet­ings and stud­ies ad nau­seum and finds it­self frozen out of growth for a decade or so.

In the ser­vice of spar­ing res­i­dents from an­other WTH (what the heck) mo­ment, a pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion strat­egy would be nice to have for the ex­pected ar­rival of the emer­ald ash borer. This lit­tle pest from Asia has pretty much cleaned out Toronto of its ash trees, and is in Sault Ste. Marie, por­tions of the province of Que­bec, and on the city’s doorstep at Durham Re­gion.

It was on coun­cil’s agenda on April 23, when staff rec­om­mended the city should ask the Cana­dian Food In­spec­tion Agency (CFIA) to keep the city in the loop while a sci­en­tific so­lu­tion is sought on how to kill the bor­ers be­fore they kill ev­ery ash tree in sight. Good start, but I learned about the prob­lem from a friend in Toronto who had to have her huge ash trees re­moved from her prop­erty (at her cost) and from a lo­cal ar­borist.

A heads up from the city would go a long way to help­ing res­i­dents learn how to rec­og­nize an in­fes­ta­tion and how to pre­pare for the com­ing bat­tle. Think of pam­phlets and press re­leases, or a mid­night rider with a lan­tern gal­lop­ing into the City of Kawartha Lakes, yelling the ‘The ash bor­ers are com­ing! The ash bor­ers are com­ing!” Or, some­thing.

And what’s a month with­out a head shaker from Mayor Ric McGee? He told The Lind­say Post this week that he billed tax­pay­ers $600 for a ticket, plus mileage, to at­tend a swanky pri­vate fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive fundraiser in Toronto last month for the Peter­bor­ough as­so­ci­a­tion and Con­ser­va­tive MP Dean Del Mas­tro. And what of those res­i­dents who dis­agree with him spend­ing our taxes on a spe­cific po­lit­i­cal party? “Nar­row minded and short sighted” is his re­ply, say­ing he has to net­work to re­ceive fed­eral fund­ing to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. Well, kiss my ash borer. I thought fed­eral fund­ing was based on need. If McGee ever runs for the Con­ser­va­tive party, it would look ar­ro­gant and self­serv­ing. For now, tax­pay­ers can de­mand an itin­er­ary put on the city’s web­site so that they know where their mayor is spend­ing his time, and our money.

Prob­lems solved.

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