Residents try to stop city from cutting down trees in Guildwood Park

Watch the video above: See what Scarborough residents are doing to try and stop the city from cutting down more trees. Mark McAllister reports. 

TORONTO – Guildwood Village residents are trying to stop the city from any further clearing of a dense forest in Scarborough infested by the emerald ash borer.

The city recently cut down hundreds of trees due to the infestation. The piled logs and cut branches can be seen scattered throughout the park.

“It’s very emotional for people here,” Patricia Spindel, a representative of Save the Guild said. “The bureaucrats said they have to do it but they didn’t have to do it all at once. And they didn’t have to knock down all the healthy trees. They could do it in sections.”

The city started cutting down trees in January because of the borer as part of the city’s $75 million plan to remove the emerald ash borer from parks and public trees throughout Toronto.

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The Asian beetle was discovered in North America in 2002 and has since infested millions of trees across the continent. It burrows deep into a tree and eats away at it from the inside.

Estimates suggest over 850,000 trees in Toronto could be at risk.

But people in the area have tried to stop the city and issued makeshift eviction notices to crews, claiming the land is public space.

Mayor Rob Ford toured the area last week but didn’t say whether the city should continue cutting down healthy trees along with the infested ones, instead saying he would have to do his “homework and get educated on it a bit more.”

And councillor for the area, Paul Ainslie said more should have been done to save healthy trees before they were infested. He added that allowing the infestation to spread could put people at risk as well.

“There’s a risk as well to people using the park that they are going to have dead trees hanging over them and branches, and there’s an inherent risk there on the city’s part,” he said in a phone interview Monday.

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