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Park trees decimated by ash borer rehabilitation

Resident shocked as ‘forest’ reduced to a few trees
Feb. 17, 2016
By Adam Kveton

A Katimavik man says the forest behind his house has been turned into a field after the city removed most of the trees in Stonegate Park in about 24 hours.

The removal, which took place on Feb. 12, was part of the city’s ash woodlot rehabilitation program and resulted in the removal of hazardous trees in a 1.1-hectare area. That turned out to mean the removal of most of the trees in the park and the pathway leading to it, which were infected with emerald ash borer.

Despite receiving a notice about the program about a week before it was carried out, Bernard Caron was “shocked to see a full forest destroyed in one day,” he said in an email notifying Metroland Media.

“A very nice park has just been turned into a wasteland,” he said.

Though he was notified in advance, he said the notice made the work sound like the park was going to be improved, with perhaps a few trees being chopped down by a couple of workers.

Instead, several large machines made fairly short work of nearly the entire wooded area, he said.

“It used to be a forest. Now it’s just a few trees,” said Caron.

That’s because the park was populated almost entirely by ash trees, with nearly all of them infested with emerald ash borer, said Michelle Wright, who works in the office of Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley.

“Three ash trees that will remain are protected under the city’s ash tree injection program,” she said. “Other tree species will be retained. These include elm, maple and cedar.”

The city plans to reforest the 1.1-hectare area with a variety of other tree species, however that work isn’t scheduled until the fall of 2016.

In the meantime, some wood debris is being left in place on purpose to provide some habitat for wildlife and invertebrates, and to provide nutrients for other plants.

Caron said he laments the fact that the park will likely take decades to look like the forest it once was. He also said he hopes the city will do a better job of warning people about just what is going to happen when their parks are rehabilitated.

“Maybe it’s the only way of doing it, but like I said, I was surprised that it was so drastic,” he said.

Wright noted that, in addition to the notice in the mail, additional information was posted on Hubley’s website the week the work was to take place.

“Notices are generally put in the mailboxes of every house which backs onto the removal area as well as to schools and common areas of apartment buildings,” she said. “Their goal is to deliver one week in advance but it is not always possible to know the exact start date of the contractor as it depends on how quickly they finish other sites.”