Since December 7, it is no longer possible to ignore the presence of ash trees on his property in Sherbrooke. If the tree is healthy, it is forbidden to cut it and the City recommends that it be indexed. Whereas if it shows traces of emerald ash borer or if it is located within 300 meters of an affected tree, it is obligatory to treat it or to bring it down or face a fine.
The new bylaw, passed unanimously by City Council on December 4, gives increased powers to the City in hopes of curbing the spread of the small insect pest from Asia.
This regulation comes with an action plan of $ 5.7 million over 10 years and fines ranging from $ 500 to $ 1,000 for offenders.
Thus, after the holidays, a team of at least four municipal employees will be deployed in the field to check the condition of the ash trees in the four outbreaks so far identified in Sherbrooke, in the Rock Forest sector near the streets Barrette, Chauveau, Cayer and Coaticook.
The ash trees in these four zones will have to be cut or treated, at the expense of the owners, according to standards and periods defined in the by-law.
The City’s experts will also visit homeowners who have recorded the presence of ash on their land, to confirm whether or not it is an ash tree and whether there is an insect.
“Someone in Fleurimont, currently, can do nothing at all, explains Guylaine Boutin, director of maintenance and roads in Sherbrooke. Citizen action is voluntary unless it is within an infestation radius. There he is obliged to act. ”
Since the first case of emerald ash borer was confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on October 19 and the City of Sherbrooke has announced the content of its action plan, 252 citizens have registered 1272 trees on the territory. The City estimates that there are 12,000 privately owned ash trees.
It has also identified 2500 ash trees in the public domain, without counting those present in the large woods such as Beckett Wood and Mount Bellevue. Ash trees represent about 7% of the 35 000 public trees listed, it is said, even if the City has stopped planting since 2009, knowing that the emerald ash borer would sooner or later make its appearance in Estrie.
The Ville de Sherbrooke has posted a lot of information on the insect, the epidemic and measures to contain its spread.
There is also an interactive map on its website to locate ash trees and infestations.
Until the Holidays, explains Guylaine Boutin, the various tools will be tested so that Sherbrookois can easily lead this fight via online services. But citizens will also get information in the borough offices, she says.
Finally, during the winter, there will be information sessions in each of the boroughs.