Thursday, April 8, 2010


In the recent provincial budget, to save a comparatively minuscule sum of money, the government cut funding to the Dutch Elm Disease program (SP Apr. 8/10.) It was so small it didn't make the media radar screen at the time of budget analysis. Yet it is a decision that will impact greatly on the masses, unless of course, the city picks up the slack.

Our city has millions and millions of dollars invested in its urban forest. Should we lose 60,000 elm trees to Dutch Elm disease the cost of removing and disposing of these trees will be horrendous to the local tax payer. The emotional cost to Saskatoonians watching their city become a barren wasteland will be even greater. Our oldest parks will be denuded. Our historic areas will be blighted.

Although the city has only lost $22,500 in funding, it will cost more than that to maintain the program if areas surrounding the city are not participating in the program and the disease goes unchecked outside of the city boundaries.

I hope our city government will not suffer the myopia of our provincial leaders. Aside from being vigilant with the Dutch Elm program, I now think the city should be proactive and start replacing every second or third elm with a new planting so when the inevitable happens we will have, at the very least, a canopy of hope. Our trees can be treated and saved. Perhaps a shared cost program with homeowners can be viable option. If given the choice to spend money now to preserve our trees or spend money later to remove the dead debris, I'll spend now. Better yet, put a River Landing project on hold and make this a priority.

If you think this isn't important, next time you walk through a park or down a street, view it without trees.

I am reminded of the adage: In the land of the blind the man with one seeing eye is king.

1 comment:

  1. I doubt even with continued funding from the Province, Saskatoon would ever be able to stick a finger in the leaking dam that is Dutch Elm.

    I must agree the only way to stave off this event is to start replanting other species. S to who pays for it well I'm sure we already are so why not just keep tagging on another tax increase. Hell it's only money right.


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