Manitoulin District set for ministerial order restricting ash materials and firewood

Tom Sasvari

The Recorder

GORDON—With concerns relating to ash trees being killed by the emerald ash borer (EAB), it is expected the movement of ash materials and firewood from Manitoulin District will be restricted as of April 1, 2012.

“We need to get the MMA (Manitoulin Municipal Association) involved in this—there shouldn’t be wood brought on the Island from other areas, or taken off the Island,” said Lee Hayden, a Gordon/Barrie Island councillor (and a member of the Manitoulin Area Stewardship Council) at a meeting last week. “We should get the same people who are putting these restrictions in place to attend an MMA meeting to discuss this further.”

“The stewardship council might be able to help with some signage, as we should have signage posted all over the Island indicating people shouldn’t bring any type of firewood onto Manitoulin,” Mr. Hayden said. “We’re an island and we should have some control over these type of things.”

“I agree, no wood should be brought from another place onto the Island,” said Reeve Jack Brady.

Mark Laberge, chair of MASC, agrees that, “it appears restrictions will be put in place against taking firewood off the Island, but wood from anywhere else shouldn’t be allowed on the Island as well.”

“I see truckloads of firewood going both ways, on and off the Island,” said Mr. Laberge. “This should be regulated. Campers or other people shouldn’t be able to bring wood from other places on the Island and there should be stiff penalties and enforcement for doing this. I know this whole issue was presented at a meeting in NEMI last fall and it never went anywhere. Possibly a bylaw should be in place on the Island, restricting anyone bringing firewood on the Island. It would be easy to control, there are only two ways on and off the Island.”

Kim Wulterkens, a communications officer with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) wrote in a letter to council, dated February 15, 2012, “as you may be aware, the emerald ash borer (EAB) was confirmed on Manitoulin Island in November 2011. This insect is an invasive beetle, originating in Asia, which has been killing ash trees throughout southern Ontario and the northeastern United States. It is a very destructive insect, able to kill a healthy ash tree within three to five years.”

“Under the federal Plant Protection Act, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for preventing the introduction and spread of invasive insects, such as EAB, in Canada. In order to slow its spread and protect our forests, the CFIA establishes regulated areas by Ministerial Order from which movement of regulated materials that may spread EAB is prohibited without prior permission from the CFIA.”

Ms. Wulterkens explained, “regulated materials include: ash trees (whole or parts), ash nursery stock, ash logs and branches, ash lumber, wood packaging materials with an ash component, ash wood or bark, ash wood chips or bark chips, and firewood from all tree species.”

“Since EAB has now been confirmed on Manitoulin Island, it is expected that all of Manitoulin District will be regulated by Ministerial Order in April 2012,” wrote Ms. Wulterkens. “This would mean that regulated materials, including any yard waste that may contain ash, ash logs and firewood of all tree species could not be moved outside the District without prior permission or a permit from the CFIA. These restrictions may also apply to articles and handi-crafts made from untreated ash wood.”

“Once the Ministerial Order is in place, regulated materials would be permitted to move freely within Manitoulin District,” continued Ms. Wulterkens. “There is also a program available that would allow those enrolled to obtain a permit to move regulated materials outside the District during times of the year when the beetle is not active, or year round once the ash material has been treated to mitigate the risk of spread of EAB.”

“The CIFA is contacting those groups that may be affected by these movement restrictions to seek comments on the proposals to regulate Manitoulin District to prevent further spread of EAB in Ontario,” wrote Ms. Wulterkens.

Mr. Brady agreed with Mr. Hayden’s suggestion that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency representatives should be encouraged to attend an MMA meeting on the Island to provide more information and discuss the issue further. Council agreed to send a letter to the agency asking them to attend a meeting on Manitoulin.

concerning the ash borer.