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New strategy proposed in city's fight against Dutch elm disease

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A city committee has voted in favour of a new strategy to curb Dutch elm disease.

This morning, council's public works committee approved a plan which recommends Winnipeg work with the province to combat the disease. The strategy includes asking the province to reinstate buffer zones in the municipalities of Richot and Springfield and split the cost of tree removal, Elm bark beetle control and tree-planting.

This year, the province contributed $1 million to fighting the disease and the city's spent $2.7 million.

The city has proposed spending an additional $1.9-million and has asked the province to match the contribution.

The plan still has to be approved by executive policy committee and city council.

During the past 37 years, Winnipeg lost less than two per cent of its elms to the disease in an average year. In the last five years, an administrative report said the city has seen higher rates of Dutch elm disease. It lost 3.46 per cent of its trees in 2011 and more than two per cent in 2012.

Before Dutch elm disease was detected in Winnipeg in 1975, the city had about 275,000 elm trees. Currently, the there are 140,000 elm trees.

 

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