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Hamilton, Ontario (UPI) Sep 7, 2012
A Canadian city says an invasion of the emerald ash borer has led it to decide to cut down every ash tree in the city in the next 10 years.
Workers in Hamilton, Ontario, will cut down 10 percent of its public ash trees each year for the next 10 years, including some that are healthy, to combat the spread of the ash borer, a pest native to Asia first seen in Ontario in 2002, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported Friday.
The city has approved a $26.2 million plan that will gradually see the felling of its 22,738 ash trees along streets and in public parks and cemeteries.
Councilors, despite reservations about bringing down healthy trees, passed the plan unanimously.
"I think it's important we recognize we need to get ahead of this and be responsible," Councilor Sam Merulla said.
A new borer-resistant tree would be planted for every ash tree that is removed, officials said.
"(This option) is the only way to address areas that are heavily hit when we have streets and neighborhoods that won't have any trees left," Craig Murdoch, director of environmental services, said.
The ash borer will leave a "concrete jungle" in its wake in some areas, he said, and "it takes a long time to get it back."
"You see pictures in magazines where trees are knitted across the road. It's one of the most beautiful images you can see."
Councilor Lloyd Ferguson, although voting to approve the plan, said he didn't like the idea of cutting down healthy trees.
"I just hope we're not overreacting to this," he said.
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