Monday, 25 November 2013

At Parks4People, we welcome your thoughts. Please post your comment below.
Need HELP posting a comment?    Images of Shade Trees POISONED by City Hall

105 comments:

  1. Who's bright idea was this abomination?

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    1. Who are all of you people? Have any of you actually taken time and bothered to learn what they are actually doing? I am an outdoor education instructor and a deep lover of nature and find it completely appalling that you people have not even been challenged on your ridiculous rhetoric. What is actually going on is that they are preserving ecological integrity in our ravines. Have any of you ever heard of a term called biodiversity, well it is essential for habitats to deal with environmental and human influenced change. This is why invasive species like Dog Strangling Vine, Norway Maple, Manitoba Maple, garlic mustard just to name a few threaten the diversity of our forest ravines. If you want to see the affect they can have take a trip to the Rouge Valley where entire slopes are covered with dog strangling vine which has no benefit to wildlife and actually fools Monarch butterflies because it is from the milkweed family. Not to mention that these plants do not provide food for native pollinators at all. Is this your idea of a healthy ravine? You should feel lucky that Toronto actually cares enough about their natural areas and sees how important native species are for pollination and providing food and habitat for our native wildlife species. The trees they are cutting down like norway and manitoba maples as well as european buckthorn actually out grow native species of maples, oaks, hickories, beeches, birches, poplars just to name a few. Not to mention how invasive species like garlic mustard actually change soil by attacking the mycorhizae fungus that allows trees and other pants to share nutrients and is the reason we are seeing a huge decline in the natural regeneration of native tree seedlings. So yes please keep insulting these hard working individuals if your idea of a paradise is a forest with three types of trees and two different types of plants that have no value for wildlife. I would think a group of people dedicated to the parks of Toronto would at least take some time to learn about all of the good work that is being done to actually protect your ravines you claim to love. Because guess what, HUMANS are the reason why this ecological integrity is threatened and are why we have to use extreme measures to protect what diversity is left in our ravines for the sake of preserving the diverse wildlife species that call these ravines home. Remember if invasive species were allowed to flourish then you may not even have parks left for future generations. Using the words like extremists, fanatical, and cult are extremely dangerous and are great ways to incite hatred on people you do not even know.

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    2. It's great to hear from someone on the other side. So far, we have been preaching mainly to the choir.

      You have posted as "Anonymous", making a discussion very difficult as there could be dozens of people posting as "Anonymous" on the site. Are you posting from the Parks Department? Are you a volunteer on this program? What is your association with this program?

      You make a very interesting statement: "HUMANS are the reason why this ecological integrity is threatened and are why we have to use extreme measures". So the problem is HUMANS and you agree that what you are doing in our ravines qualifies as "extreme measures".

      I would love to continue our discussion, and will be happy to do so once I know who I am speaking to and your role in this program. You know who I am, so why don't we have an open discussion?

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    3. Glad to hear the arguments of the other side but when people post anonymously in a free country it usually means they are lying. There is no risk to telling us who you are or if you from Parks Toronto so if there is no risk why do you not tell us who you are? Maybe you had trouble with the comment box like I did but there are excellent instructions on the right side of the page.

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    4. Anonymous has a lot of words here but it is just background noise until Anonymous identifies his or herself and lets us know if he or she works for the city or is a volunteer or exactly how this person is involved with the program that she defends so energetically. No name, no credibility.

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    5. I agree with the others that it is a waste of time to argue with someone who hides his identity. This is a free and open forum and nothing will happen to you if we know who we are talking to. What are you afraid of?

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    6. There is a lot I want to say but I want to know if I am speaking to a city employee or a volunteer or exactly what relationship Anonymous has with this. No hard feelings for the anonymous as long as you now identify yourself and your role in this program.

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    7. I'd like to say to Mr. Anonymous, "Oh please, spare us the obfuscation. Canada has had "nature" and "forest" for hundred's of years, despite forest fires, encroaching suburbs and massive logging without devolving into a monoculture. And hundreds of years from now we will still have lush divergence without interference from those determined to eradicate healthy and beautiful trees with their chainsaws and pesticides. The only "invasive species" I see are the people at City Hall determined to impose their will and their ridiculous priorities on our parks with the tax payers money.

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    8. Exactly the point I've been trying to make. Well said.

      The alarming aspect of this futile attempt to manipulate the way "Nature" has evolved in Toronto parks is the reality that government agencies & departments are doing this sort of thing throughout its spheres of influence, from education, to social policy, to transportation, to infrastructure, to city planning, to the arts. Meddle, tweek, impose ideologies, channel public thinking, create fears.....it all has cost, metrics are never applied to gauge success or failure, and dumb programs become institutionalized and thereafter never reviewed for efficacy. Bureaucracy just grows and sucks more money from taxpayer pockets. That is the industry of government.

      I understand the arguments made for why this particular woodland reclamation is being done but I have yet to see a rational explanation for the net benefits, what and who is served by it, and how it justifies the cost, the disruption, the destruction, and the chemical pollution.

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    9. I think these comments have nailed the reason. This madness started as something that superficially "sounded good" without any rational risk/benefit analysis. Keywords such as "non-native" and "invasive" tweak the modern conscience and suppress critical evaluation. And so the program was launched, a growing number of managers, employees, and "volunteers" now have a vested interest in its perpetuation, and the chainsaws and herbicides continue to cut and poison based on inertia and self-interest.

      What a Monty Python sketch it would make. The Ministry of Chainsaws and Poison exists for the sole purpose of employing people to chainsaw and poison shade trees. The famous Ministry of Silly Walks was equally useless, but a lot less destructive.

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    10. This could be the only possible explanation, another idiotic make work project that got started and no one knows how to stop it. A make work project that wastes taxpayers money is one thing but a make work project that destroys shade trees and poisons the environment for our children, pets and wild animals is something very different and evil. I am so glad to learn what was behind the horrors that I have been seeing in Sherwood Park. The city is obviously afraid to justify this mess if they have to hide behind Anonymous. Its really pathetic and lets us know how unjustifiable this thing is.

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    11. Check out the link that has been added in the right top corner When Green goes bad - Slaughtering eagles for the environment. It is the same issue we have here on a smaller scale except we are slaughtering beautiful shade trees and poisoning our parks for a goal that we are supposed to believe is "green" and "natural".

      In the Toronto Parks massacre, we don't even get a few spurts of electrical energy. There is NO benefit to anyone other than those being paid to kill and poison shade trees and those enjoying the righteousness of volunteerism. As for the rest of us and nature, well too bad!

      As I have said before, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"

      Here is an excerpt:
      Hundreds of thousands of birds die each year flying into the deadly turbine blades atop the soaring towers that compose wind farms. The rule will give wind farms thirty year permits for the “non purposeful take of eagles-that is where the take is associated with but not the purpose of, the activity.’’ The take of eagles is also a euphemism for the slaughter of them.

      The wind farms fulfill Obama’s ambitious pursuit of developing renewable energy sources. Unfortunately, some bird species being destroyed by the turbines are not renewable. As a result, Obama finds himself wedged between the ire of opposing green groups. In July, wildlife groups met with administration officials and lobbied against the granting of 30 year permits for energy companies that own the wind farms.

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    12. Okay I will assume that the daft git known as Anonymous represents the Department of Parks, Forestry and Recreation for the City of Toronto, which I now know is the official name of the home of this make-work project. The hectoring and fear mongering and the airy fairy blether has done nothing to convince me that there is any justification for this environmental outrage. And you say you are an outdoor education instructor, well you have obviously sold out and ought to be ashamed of yourself.

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    13. Humber Arborist6 December 2013 23:11

      This makes me sick. Do any of you people out there know how much it costs to be trained as an arborist??? Its not exactly easy to find work especially when people like you screw up the opportunities that we have. Maybe your all comfortable but I have to find a job, so shut up!!!

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    14. Speaking for myself (and I know there are different opinions on this blog), I am not proposing that anyone is laid off. I believe that over 90% of the forest management activities performed by the parks department and volunteers are essential, and that a healthy urban forest is what makes a city liveable. But no department is perfect, and if it claims to be, then you know the department is out of control.

      Every city department says that it is starved for funds, and I'm sure there are worthwhile forest management projects that the staff and volunteers who are now chainsawing and poisoning shade trees could be redeployed to. This assumes that they would not continue to destroy shade trees in our city, with or without poison.

      Smart people make mistakes, but they learn from them and change course. Zealots believe they can continue to make the same mistake over and over and that repetition will somehow make it right. Let's hope the parks department is smart.

      So, Humber Arborist, your prospects as a city arborist have not changed.

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    15. Alistair you are right that Humber arborist's job prospects have not changed, they started at zero and are still zero. His problem is not that he can't find a job because the city will stop killing shade trees. If I encountered that attitude in a job interview I would never hire the guy. He's surly and entitled, who needs him?

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    16. Humber Arborist7 December 2013 09:51

      I made a mistake and I shouldn't have blamed you for my job problems and I am sorry for it. You have to understand that Garlon is very nasty stuff but I know how to protect myself from it when using a dabber on tree stumps so for me its safe, that's my training and I am not worried. I also think I have found a job for a small tree company outside of Toronto so it looks like I will be moving. How do I get a message to let me know when someone has made a new comment here? Its a pain having to search through every day.

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    17. Anyone ever get an intuitive feeling that something just doesn't ring true?

      I get that at feeling about Humber Arborist. The self-serving outburst about needing to find work doesn't sound like a professional with a post-secondary education and a sanctioned certificate/license to practice his skills. Every urban area in Ontario is covered in old trees, planted by humans when southern Ontario was denuded of most forest for agriculture, construction, heat, etc. Older mature trees are now protected & preserved by law and there has to be no end of work around for arborists. There's no end of work for them in the county where I live.

      And now Humber says he's moving from Toronto. To work as an arborist.

      I be skeptical, wondering if Humber is not an alias for a Toronto city worker.......?

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    18. I wondered too but I think we just have a guy who is impulsive and missed the whole point of this blog. He seemed to think we wanted the program terminated because of the dangers posed to workers using herbicides and he wanted to tell us that he knows how to protect himself. Maybe he lost his forestry job in the Humber Valley, and is stressed, but I really have no idea.

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    19. I like what you said about zealots being so convinced they are right that any disagreement makes them angry and they just keep making the same mistake over and over and over. The zealot I always see in Sherwood park is Janice Palmer who I think now has a car provided by the city, I don't know how a so called volunteer pulled that one off!! I think we can assume that Anonymous is Janice Palmer unless we hear otherwise and that she has some deal with the parks department that doesn't sound too proper to me. This closer you get the more this thing stinks.

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    20. I don't know who Anonymous is, but I know we are hearing the party line of the parks department. How much easier it would be for them to admit that this one project is a horrible mistake and to redeploy the staff to something that does not attract the anger and contempt of park users and taxpayers. To continue defending this obscenity calls into question all of their programs and makes a small problem into a huge problem. Big, big mistake, as many politicians and bureaucrats have discovered.

      While no one can say for sure that Janice Palmer is Anonymous, she certainly enjoys a privileged relationship with a government department. More on that later.

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    21. We need to meet Alastair. I have sent you a private email. I got the flyer at the Sherwood Park parking lot, and you are doing the parks department a big favour unless they make the same mistake that turned Rob Ford's addiction problems into a gong show that destroyed him or that threatened Harper's government over the minor Duffy affair. Parks, you can do better than hiding behind an anonymous apologist.

      As an attorney, I have been on the sidelines in a few public relations crises and rule number one is to come clean right away. Lying and evading shreds your credibility and everything else you say will be poisoned (just like the trees in this drama). If the problem is a long standing corporate or departmental practice that has come to light that people perceive negatively (as they rightly do in this case), then don't believe that by "educating" the public they will see your point of view, especially when you are doing the equivalent of killing puppies. DON'T WHITEWASH THE TOXIC INGREDIENT, REMOVE IT FROM YOUR PRODUCT! If you act quickly, the product can survive. Delay, and the product, which is the whole parks department, will lose the public trust and financial backing.

      The worst thing you can do is to continue to flog a dead horse while believing you can convince the public that it still has life. Do the team a favour and dispose of this very dead and stinking horse.

      In one corporate PR crisis that I was involved with in the United States the threatened company sued the whistleblower. That was rocket fuel for the attackers. Both the company and I came out losers on that one, and the company barely exists today.

      Most important stop poisoning and fencing my favourite park. That's personal, not legal.

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    22. Flogging dead horses has never deterred public agencies from their fundamental principle of never admitting fault or failure. Attempts to sue them or stop them are met with a phalanx of publicly-paid lawyers & PR personnel, who seem happy to drag out actions until the aggrieved parties give up and the public forgets what the beef was about.

      That is the most irksome difference between a govt. department and a corporation. Businesses that screw up pay their own way and the public can punish them by shunning their product or service. Can't do that with a government department or agency - and they know this.

      But since they won't be swayed by reasoned arguments or cost/benefit calculations or a sense of duty to public ("customer") service - and are political entities - they may be swayed by political pressures and embarrassed into backing down. Nothing rattles a government employee like a big, bright, unwelcome spotlight (Rob Ford being an exception as he seems immune to embarrassment).

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    23. Alastair, I do not have your email address, but do not post it in this blog. Can we meet today Monday Dec 9 at 12:30 at the notice board in Sherwood Park. Ideas for action.

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    24. The parks department is crazy if they cannot see how people would react to destroying shade trees with chain saws and poisonous herbicides for the most ridiculous reasons. The comment from Anonymous matches the pages on the citys web site so I think we have heard the best excuses the city can provide for this monstrosity and they make no sense at all. Has the city tested public opinion or do they just have this as their own private mission and don't care about park users or people paying taxes. This is an environmental disaster caused by people who think they know better and are unaccountable and think we are all so dumb that we will believe it is natural and native. It is a disaster and It had better stop.

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    25. I believe we can sue the city and specific named individuals for damages arising from this program. There is common law on our side and we can win in the court of public opinion and in the court of law. Allons-y!

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    26. Before anyone sues shouldn't we get some explanation from the parks department as to what they think they are accomplishing? I am sure it is bureaucratic bloat and defending empires with the usual desire to meddle and control, but somehow it has been justified to the budget keepers and I would like to know how. Maybe we have already heard from city hall through Anonymous, I expect we have. Now would city hall have the guts to actually face their critics and not hide out of shame? There is lots to sue about but timing is everything.

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    27. City Hall grants special status to SOME private citizens. There is a taxpayer-funded weatherproof notice board in Sherwood Park that regularly displays non-government notices on matters relating to Sherwood Park, with regular updates from Janice Palmer. I requested permission to post a single sheet containing only the words: If you have questions about the destruction of shade trees and the use of toxic herbicides in Sherwood Park, please visit parks4people.net. I was told by Diane Tomlin, Park Supervisor, that Janice Palmer, a private citizen, would approve or reject my request. Apparently Ms Palmer declined my request, as I was informed by Beth McEwen, Manager, Forest and Natural Environment Management, that I would NOT be permitted to display my single sheet alongside many other non-government notices.

      Who granted a private citizen the right to control access to public property?

      Something is rotten in the state of Toronto's parks department.

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    28. Very fishy indeed.

      Seeing how this is unfolding, if you wish to go for a modest hike, or take the dog for a walk, or play catch with your kids, you will soon have to get the written approval of citizen Palmer to enter HER park for some well-regulated recreation. Just don't venture off the Parks-approved pathways or trod on the undergrowth or let your dog snap a non-invasive twig.

      I can't believe all the paid bureaucrats involved in what appears to be a simple grass-roots inquiry into the management of Sherwood Park. The message seems pretty clear to me: the government takes OUR money by force of law, creates and manages its various mandates, and reminds us at every turn the public who bankrolls them has no say in the process. Our money, yes; our opinions or wishes, no.

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    29. Very well put, Peter K. I can only think that, given the force of resistance from the city, they wish to enforce their policies by intimidation. These are the tactics of bullies who know they can't justify their position in an open and fair discussion.

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    30. Who is this Janice Palmer? She alone is allowed to drive her car in the park, she decides who can use the park notice board which is public property and bans anything she doesn't like, she can have someone banned from all toronto parks, and now she appears to have use of a city car that she can drive around in a city park, and she claims to be a volunteer. What is going on here? This stinks!

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    31. Alastair, do you have anything in writing from the city indicating that Janice Palmer has been granted by the city any authority over who is or is not allowed to post notices on public property Sherwood Park? Were you told verbally or in writing by Ms MacEwen that your request to post a notice had been denied? Did Ms Palmer or Ms MacEwen cite any existing regulation that defined what is or is not allowed to be posted in Sherwood Park? This may be a case of undue influence. The city appears determined to create a major crisis from an easily corrected mistake.

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    32. Yes, I do have all that information in writing from the city. Here is the sequence of emails (my emphasis) culminating in denial of my request to post a single notice beside other non-government notices on the public notice board in Sherwood Park.

      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: Sherwood Park Public Notice Board
      Date: Tue, 03 Dec 2013 11:37:03 -0500
      From: Alastair Gordon <------->
      To: Tomlin, Diane - Sup. Sherwood Park <------->

      Dear Ms Tomlin,

      Mr. Ray Vendrig suggested that you would the right person to speak to regarding matters pertaining directly to Sherwood Park.

      I am hoping you could tell me the process for placing a notice (single sheet 8.5x11 inches, or smaller if necessary) in the weatherproof notice board in Sherwood Park at the foot of the Sherwood Road entrance. There are a number of non-government notices on that board, all of which relate specifically to Sherwood Park. My notice is a matter of public interest, likewise relating specifically to Sherwood Park, so I assume that there will be no problem posting it along with the others.

      I would appreciate hearing back from you as soon as possible so that this public interest notice can be placed alongside other non-government notices regarding Sherwood Park.

      Thank you very much for your assistance.

      Best regards,
      Alastair Gordon
      Sherwood Park user since 1976

      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: Re: Sherwood Park Public Notice Board
      Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2013 09:55:48 -0500
      From: Diane Tomlin <------->
      To: Alastair Gordon <------->
      CC: Janice Palmer <------->, Douglas Jones <------->

      Dear Mr. Gordon,

      The notice board in Sherwood Park is jointly monitored by City Parks and the Sherwood Park Advisory Committee.
      The Park supervisor for Sherwood Park is Doug Jones and the contact for Sherwood Advisory Committee is Janice Palmer, whom have both been copied on this e-mail.
      I suggest that you send a copy of the article that you wish to post to both Doug and Janice for their review and approval.

      Sincerely,

      Diane Tomlin
      Park Supervisor
      Wards 21 & 22

      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: Sherwood Park Public Notice Board
      Date: Mon, 09 Dec 2013 17:16:47 -0500
      From: Beth Mcewen <------->
      To: Alastair Gordon <------->
      CC: Janice Palmer <------->, Bob Crump <------->, Douglas Jones <------->

      Hello Alastair,

      The purpose of the notice board is to provide information about activities and events in the park as they relate to Parks Forestry and Recreation, volunteer stewardship events and to display minutes from the meetings of the Sherwood Park Advisory Committee. So we are declining your request to post your information on the bulletin board, which you have noted, would promote your website and blog.

      Parks, Forestry and Recreation also requests that you avoid future contact with park volunteer Janice Palmer. If you have questions or concerns please address these to me personally rather than Janice.

      Thank you. I am preparing a response to your earlier questions and will send this to you shortly.

      Beth

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    33. This department is out of control. First they tell you that a volunteer Janice Palmer determines who can access public property, then they say you cannot have access to a public notice board while allowing others to post their notices, and then they think that they can tell who you cannot talk to in a park. This is how extremists work always thinking they have something so important that they can trample on anyone and do anything. I thought the parks people might have had a reasonable explanation but they are just power hungry bureaucrats on a ridiculous dangerous mission that only they want and the hell with the rest of us.

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    34. Undue influence beyond a doubt. What else has Toronto Parks, Forestry and recreation had to say?

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    35. Got the flyer, thank you. I have been coming to Sherwood Park since 1988 and I have seen the horrible fences and signs and slashing of beautiful shade tree groves. I thought it might have been for controlling an infestation of destructive insects, but when I find it is some insane project to return Sherwood Park to native species I am speechless. What sickos believe that any species that requires this much in the way of cutting and poisoning and fencing and signing to survive could ever be considered "native" or "natural". This is like some bad joke. I had a neighbour complaining that he cannot use Round Up to control dandelions which I am fine with and then the parks department is using even worse poisons to kill trees that everyone loves. Stupidest thing I have heard in a long time.

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    36. I call them the Park Nazis and their program is species eugenics. Only the true blood native species have the right to inhabit the fatherland and inferior newcomers (according to the Park Nazis) must be exterminated by physical and chemical means. They are the elite who determine who lives and who dies and the will of ordinary people is just something to be manipulated to suit their hateful goal.

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    37. This is not what we are doing. We are doing this for your own good or do you want your children to grow up never knowing what our native species are? If so I feel sorry for you. We are working so that your children will be safe and will know about our history of native plants and the animals that once lived on them. Norway and Manitoba maples are invasive weeds that arrived since 1980 because of globalization and are destroying our natural native species. You kill weeds don't you? All we are doing is to undo the damage caused by HUMANS who are the real problem here. Do some research and see how wrong you are.

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    38. Anonymous makes an infantile argument about invasive species and frets about our children's ignorance and safety - the former not well addressed by public education and the latter obsessed over by the same bunch. The children's role in this is perhaps the weakest argument I've seen yet in support of the City's attack on public parks.

      There's an argument to be made for attacking invasive species, like Loosestrife or zebra mussels. There are hard, scientific, logical reasons to tackle these infestations and sizable public expenditures in tackling them can be justified.

      The existence of Norway and Manitoba maple trees in city parks is an entirely different matter GIVEN WHAT IS AT STAKE. In a practical sense, in terms of what a park is, what a forested area is, how city residents are affected, and what it means to mother nature herself, there is very little at stake. Most offended are the few who are banging on about this as though the reclamation of indigenous plant life in Toronto parks is the holy grail of environmental activism that will mark the second coming of.....what? Oh yeah, no Norway or Manitoba maples, and more sunlight on the forest floor. Accomplish this, and what's different beyond how the zealots "feel" about it?

      I wonder if public money might not be better spent on more urgent infestations in Toronto, like termites or bedbugs, instead of fretting about shade trees.

      I'm betting the City could have made a good start in a single 3-month Autumn project in Sherwood with volunteers thereafter walking the parks to yank invasive seedlings/saplings, but this multi-year mega-buck project c/w toxins requiring haz-mat suits and respirators is absurd.

      A thought: If a private homeowner in the City of Toronto decided on his own to cut down his mature Norway Maple from his front yard, I'd wager that homeowner would not be celebrated but would instead be heavily fined. Only the City can cull a tree and the taxpayer has no property rights if the City so ordains......talk about infestations!

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    39. Welcome back, Anonymous. I was hoping that you would identify yourself or at least your involvement in this program. But that was too much to expect.

      Could I make a request? Please stop acting for "my own good". I am not interested in what you're selling especially when I apparently do not have the right to say, "No thanks". I am, however, forced to pay for your meddling both financially and otherwise.

      You asked, "do you want your children to grow up never knowing what our native species are?" Actually, I want them to grow up healthy, which means without exposure to Garlon and Roundup, and which also means having the opportunity to explore ravines, ride their bikes freely, and create their own harmless BMX courses, all without the condescending interference of over-controlling adults who "know better".

      And no, I do NOT kill weeds and if I tried to do so using the toxic herbicides that you use, I would be in jail.

      What on earth do you mean "since 1980"? Or did you mean 1880? Or 1780? In 1980, was there suddenly massive global trade in Manitoba and Norway maples? Were these trees being unloaded at our docks, like bunches of bananas hiding black widow spiders? This is truly an idiotic statement you have made, as the massive native red oaks now dominating Sherwood Park reached their dominance despite the same competition from non-native invaders that you now attack with chainsaws, poison and barriers. This is all the proof you should need to end your toxic meddling NOW.

      You are very clear on how much you hate humans, "the real problem", and how you believe their behavior must be strictly regulated by a self-appointed elite. I have a lot more faith than you do in the individual, and that may be at the heart of our disagreement.

      Time to come out of the closet?

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    40. When I read the comments from Anonymous it looks like this eugenics program is being run as a make-work project at city hall doing the bidding of some fanatical volunteer group. City hall is not addressing the real needs of real park users just the disgusting vision of a fringe element. Alistar seems to think the rest of the parks department is okay but how many more of these atrocities are hiding behind their lofty goals and missions? Its time for a very critical audit.

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    41. Anonymous seems to think that the only way our children will know what our native species are is to butcher our parks and apply toxins to the trees, soil and possibly run-off. We have yet to see any definition of "native species" or evidence of what destruction is being caused by anything supposedly "non-native". I guess "Manitoba" maples are non-native & thus invasive because they are not "Ontario" maples? Please, let's not mention this to Quebec.

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    42. This is disgusting. I saw that parks has just installed even more ugly fencing where they destroyed all the trees near Blythwood road. Sherwood park used to have a natural relaxed feel and now it feels like I am trespassing on fenced corridors on someone's private property with signs telling me all the things I cannot do and will be fined for. THIS IS NOT YOUR PARK! You cannot use our parks for your sick experiments in racial purity. I feel like tearing down those bloody fences and ripping up their stinking signs. How did these sick people manage to take over? Because we let them.

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    43. THE CITY MAKES ITS CASE. Beth McEwen, Manager, Urban Forestry Renewal for the City of Toronto makes the case for chainsawing and poisoning shade trees in Toronto's parks, clear-cutting slopes, and the ever-increasing fences and barriers to restrict park users to ever-diminishing corridors.

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    44. We have heard the city's official justification for this disgusting project. I think the real reason is either, one, empire building at city hall by people who really have nothing to do (and should be fired), or two, extremists who believe that they own the parks (and should be fired). Everything that Beth McEwan says stinks of WE KNOW BETTER and park users are just a nuisance but we will still allow them a tiny tiny piece of the park, but it is OURS, OURS, OURS.

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    45. I read everything that Beth Mcewen has to say including her references. Pure crap! Tom is right that it is empire building, bizarre environmental extremism or both. Alastar I could not argue with any of your points but I think you go too easy on the abuse of the taxpayer. Every year our property taxes go up and there is rubbish like this that keeps feeding off them. I don't know how big the budget is for all this destruction but if something this worthless is not being chopped then what other crimes against the taxpayer are being committed?? Have you seen the latest fencing that has gone up in Sherwood Park? We are being kept out of even more of the small remaining park area not claimed by Ms. Palmer and her fanatics as their own. We are being treated like naughty children by these holier than thou control freaks. Enough already!

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    46. Very interesting! When I finished reading what the parks department had to say I expected it would be signed "Anonymous". This group is definitely out of control and should be shut down. We will be looking back one day and remembering when our parks were for people and not the private reserves of these extremists and we will regret not doing something about it before it was too late. Loved the comment about hazmat suits for toddlers, even if it was depressing.

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    47. This is it? This is how the parks department justifies getting money? It is utterly absurd! Nothing that woman says makes any sense. It is just the usual bureaucrat blether. You should call the web site "Parks4Poison". I don't know if an extremist volunteer has managed to get a city bureaucrat to support her personal mission or whether an extremist city bureaucrat is using a volunteer as a front for her crazy mission, and I don't care. As bad as the wreckage of the environment is the belief of these fools that they own the parks and that we taxpayers and users will be tolerated by the real owners in smaller and smaller controlled areas. Who the hell do they think they are? I used to love Sherwood Park now I hate it. It is the symbol of the cancer at city hall.

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    48. Now we know who "Anonymous" is, at least she's consistent.

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    49. Beth McEwen has told me that she is not "Anonymous", and I am inclined to believe her. I wish there were a way to tell where anonymous postings come from but I don't know of any. Admin says you can't really do it with Google Blogger.

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    50. I wish I had your confidence in Beth McEwen, Alastair. I am disgusted that this civil servant thinks she has the right to tell you who you cannot talk to in a public park and that you have no right to put up a notice when other private citizens are granted that right. She obviously knows that what she is doing is embarrassing and she cannot defend it openly. She hopes she can keep it under wraps by bullying. This should go to the media at the right time. The absurdity of a bunch of greenies pushing poisonous herbicides and destroying shade trees would make quite a story. Everyone loves to see an arrogant power freak take a fall.

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    51. I suspect Ms. McEwen has no idea that what she is doing is embarrassing and feels fully confident in the righteousness of her mission. That's what makes the civil service such an expensive, meddlesome bunch.

      Because it is so entrenched, so large, and so protected by its representative unions, the civil service now seems almost unmovable from sheer inertia. Common sense and common decency demands every public project or program be fully publicized before it's funded, its objectives, defined benefit to the public or its mandate, deliverable end-results, costing, timelines, and completion dates be articulated in detail. Only then should it be funded. And the entire project must be readily available online, c/w rolling timeline, status, and costs updated regularly. Cost overruns and lateness must have consequences. Anything less is a betrayal to the public it serves.

      This constant scratching for information and the political "spinning" they do to deflect and obstruct in the hopes we go away and leave them alone insults us all.

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    52. I would like to discuss ways and means. Yes I agree that the environmental destruction by parks Toronto is terrible, yes I also hate what has been happening in Sherwood Park, yes I think the city is arrogant and belligerent, yes it is disgusting how they try to bully any opposition. All that is true. But is this the way to change it? We need to talk to park users one at a time and I know a lot are already upset at how almost all of the park is now off limits. We need to hand out a flyer that points them to this web page. We need to do it in the spring when people are more focused on the park. If they are this mad in the middle of winter I cannot imagine how mad they will be in April and May. Let's wait and do it right.

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    53. That was an amazing piece by Ms. McEwen. Each part that I read left me jumping up and down wanting to yell out what absolute crap she was feeding us then I got to Alistair Gordon's response and he had said most of it for me. I simply cannot get over her bit about sight lines. Not only are we blocked from almost all of the park but we need to be monitored by city employees in case we are naughty and need a spanking. As I understand it she is clear cutting beautiful trees and poisoning the ground to make sure that we ignorant citizenry and children don't damage the park's ecology. Only an idiot bureaucrat could believe that makes sense!! I loved Alistair Gordon's points but I agree with the other guy who said we are going to easy on the tax angle. Arrogant, fanatical, unaccountable, and frankly wrong people like these should have no access to my taxes. I work hard to pay those taxes!

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    54. You are all a pack of such assholes. Just shut up!!!

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    55. While Dave at Cupe 79 is entitled to his views, as pithy as they are, they do not add any facts or information pertinent to the issues being discussed. Could it be that job security is his major motivator? If we "shut up" and allow city hall policies and employees to ravage our parks, then his continued employment will not be jeopardized. Just another case of unenlightened self-interest from a city employee putting himself before the tax payer, the park user and reasonable, ethical government policy .

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    56. I think Dave@cupe79's eloquent rebuttal to resident concerns actually represents the sophistication of CUPE 79's overall collective bargaining strategy. What the members do in their work is less important than what they do for themselves collectively - more so for union leadership. They bully & threaten to get their way, and the politicians submit as union dues are used to elect them. Trouble is, the mandate of the unions are at complete odds with what the mandate of the politicians should be.

      I don't want Dave@cupe79 to lose his job. What's essential is that the City respect the taxpayer, his/her money, space, liberty, free will, property rights - and not embark on any city project that doesn't have the broadest benefit to the greatest number of residents, executed in the most cost-effective way possible (value for money spent). Like what Sherwood Park IS NOT.

      Politicians never think this way, and neither do union employees. That's corruption in my books.

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    57. ADMIN - I have received a number of messages from visitors who were UNABLE TO POST COMMENTS on this blog for the past few weeks. I assumed that the prolonged power outage had taken down servers in the city of Toronto and that was the reason. I was wrong, as the blog itself was also affected regardless of the location of the visitor. Visitors could read comments but not post any new comments. My apologies, and I hope the problem has been fixed. Happy New Year!

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  2. Native species? How do these jerks even know what native species are? Show me the written record! And registered herbicides to make things more natural. Is this some kind of deranged cult?

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    1. It is like some back-to-nature cult. Except that nature types do not usually like chainsaws and poison pesticides. How did this cult get the city on side? It is one of the most insane things I have ever heard of.

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  3. There is hardly anywhere you can go in the ravine that these people have not fenced it off and put up their stupid signs to try and justify poisoning nature. If native species were right for Sherwood Park then we would have native species. The fact that they have to cut down trees and use poison and keep out people and dogs proves that big trees are the real natural species not some grass or whatever that needs crews and poison to survive. Its insanity.

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  4. When I saw the rape of Sherwood Park this past summer, I was sickened. Beautiful, full grown,healthy trees were demolished for their sin of being "non-native". Aside from this atrocity to our lovely park, does this city really want to spend the tax payers money to do it? Haven't we got better & more ethical priorities?

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    1. Rape is a good word for what these fanatics are doing to Toronto's ravines. But the rapists stick up notices and they're proud to tell us about their crime and to let us know that the rapes will continue and that city hall is paying them to do it. How can we stop it, media?

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  5. I want names at city hall for the crazies who are responsible for this insanity... as you said it is nothing but vandalism dressed up as a return to nature. Nothing about it makes sense and nobody except the crazies wants it.

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  6. I think its important to see what it was like before the white man ruined everything and I support native grasslands in every toronto parks and Sherwood Park. I would ban humans and dogs out of the park completely and make it a nature reserve without people and dog walkers destroying native plants. Roundup bothers me a bit but white oppressors killing native species are worse.

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    1. Sherry I hope you are not older than 14. Or if you're an adult that you do not use any of the "white man's" advances of the last 300 years. If you're older than 14 and do not live in a cave then you are either so dumb or so hypocritical that I cannot even respond to your mangled reasoning. This is the kind of mangled reasoning that created the native species idiocy in the first place.

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    2. I happen to be a teacher and your not very polite Mr. B

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    3. Gosh, I can only hope that you never teach my sons or daughter.

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    4. I can only think that Sherry is employing sarcasm. If no one were allowed to use the park, what would be the point of having one and who would be there to see anything? Be it native, non-native, grassland or snow caps.

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    5. I wish it was sarcasm and I wish she was not a teacher. She believes it and she is a teacher. What a depressing combination!!

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  7. I do not like Sherwood park now. My kids used to collect the strangest things in the forest and learn on their own. Now they are kept to fenced paths with signs telling them all the things that are verboten. No more exercise and no more learning except for the "interpretive panels" put up by a bunch of preachy crackpots. These people love control and hate fun and spontaneity.

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  8. I think everyone needs to calm down and ask the city or maybe some of the volunteers to tell us their side of what is going on in Sherwood Park and other places. There is a lot of information here and I can see it does not look good but there is nothing from the city or volunteers. Are you out there?

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    1. I would like to hear from the city too and to know who had the idea and how it was approved and how homeowners taxes were approved to be spent in this way. Was it under mayor David Miller that it was given funding? Toronto has insane mayors but this sounds like something Miller could be talked into. So lets hear from city hall.

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    2. All we have here is one side. If we heard from the city there would be a balance and it would be fair. But almost everybody here is against everything.

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    3. Has anyone called the city? There is a guy named Richard Ubbens in Toronto Parks and Forestry who seems to be the one justifying it when there are angry citizens in the paper. I don't know what his role is exactly.

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    4. I don't think anyone needs to be told to "calm down". This blog is an excellent venue for exposing the awful and abhorrent destruction of our public park(s) - views which need to be expressed and moved forward.

      I would suggest that the originator of this blog send this link to: the Mayor's Office (or Deputy Mayor's), the City Councillor's office and possibly the Toronto Star or National Post. Additionally, perhaps we contributors could also forward the link to our friends and neighbours who are park lovers/users.

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  9. I thank you for this web site but who are you, do I know you from Sherwood Park? We need to get people organized to fight these crazies. How dare they fence off access to most of the ravine and ban bikes so they can dump illegal poisons in our parks? I am disgusted by the "rape" as someone called it at the Blythwood entrance. They have to be stopped.

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  10. Is there any chance that parks is doing all this because of the Asian long-horn beetle or some other invasive pest that kills trees? None of their signs or posters say anything about that so I guess it really is some misguided attempt to cut and poison our way to a time before there were chainsaws and herbicides. Maybe if Rob Ford hadn't paralyzed city government it would be easy to get something this ridiculous and hated stopped.

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  11. I am in Sherwood Park with my kids at least once a week and it was disgusting to see the clear cut mess that was left behind at the Blythwood entrance on the south side. When I saw the residue of herbicides I had to wonder if I should be bringing my kids to this toxic park. That was once a beautiful shaded spot almost magic under the arches of the trees and now it is a barren dirt hole. I wondered what had happened and now that I know it is even more or a crime than I thought. Who approved this atrocity that no one wants.

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  12. Garlon is horrible stuff. How can I let my kids run freely in an area contaminated with Garlon? "Symptoms of short-term exposure to triclopyr [Garlon] include lethargy, incoordination, weakness, difficult breathing, and tremors. Anorexia and diarrhea have also been observed in animals exposed to triclopyr". Sherwood Park was once a clean and safe place for kids. These fools have poisoned it for what? Garlon fact sheet. Governments and zealots do some dumb things but this takes the cake.

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  13. Who is running this message blog?

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    Replies
    1. Who is asking?

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  14. If people need further evidence of the powerlessness of the average taxpayer and the abuses he/she suffers under the misguided dictates of government agencies, they need look no further than this barely-rational make-work project! You can't touch a flippin' racoon, but you can go on a killing spree of "invasive" vegetation, turn the park into a hostile recreational environment, and create open sight-lines for the purposes of spying on miscreants? Very "natural". Very odd.

    Erosion protection is one thing, but the contemporary liberal obsessions with "inclusion" and "diversity" apparently don't apply to the flora of Toronto's parklands . Only government-approved tree, shrub, and ground-cover species allowed.

    If ongoing city funding is required to maintain this recovery program to purge areas of invasive species, I can predict it's the sort of funding that gets chopped in austere times, and in the end the whole exercise will be for naught anyway.

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    1. Wow I couldn't have said it better Peter!! The whole thing is so ridiculous that I keep thinking I am not understanding something but I have seen them at work in the park and it is all true. Their fences and signs and poison residue stains on hacked down trees. A back-to-nature cult that gets the city to do its dirty work with chain saws and illegal herbicides, how weird is that?

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    2. Well said, agreed. I thought there had to be an explanation for this abuse of taxpayers and threatening the health of park users who include young children but there obviously is not. I am now as mad as the rest of you. :(

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    3. Quite weird. But too predictable. It's amazing how much leverage a group of do-gooders can gain by petitioning ambitious city politicians. And this activity in Sherwood Park is the City's way of saying the parks are not yours; they belong to city bureaucrats.

      A Parks Dept. has an interest in soil erosion and is obliged to take measures against it, but what is the compelling argument for purging adaptive, healthy, mature, shade trees because ancient indigenous ground cover likes more sun? What is society's duty and obligation to destroy what COULD grow & thrive in favor of what couldn't?

      Human intervention in Toronto has essentially obliterated much of what existed before the European's arrival - yet who is championing the return of river floods, mosquito infestations from vast bogs, dug well water and backyard outhouses? We interfere and meddle and change things constantly in pursuit of an upside - and I'm not seeing the upside to all this destruction and disruption in the pursuit of some botanical ambition that will not sustain itself without constant human intervention (cost).

      Do we know for sure that cyclical, naturally-warming climates, changes in bird migration patterns, etc. would not have led to the arrival of "alien" tree species to this region anyway, without human intervention? Maybe we should be trying to encourage Ice Age flora to grow locally.

      I see this micro-system project being more a "vanity" project than one essential to Nature's continuum......

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    4. Like you said "I'm not seeing the upside to all this destruction and disruption in the pursuit of some botanical ambition that will not sustain itself without constant human intervention (cost)" Remember that the cost is not just dollars, it is the destruction of beautiful trees and exposing our children and animals to poison that can have you thrown in jail if you use it on your own lawn. That doesn't sound too harmless to me. To me the poisoning is more important than the dollars.

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  15. I have done my own web research and this really is insane. When so-called naturalists are killing shade trees and spreading poison to get back to nature there is something very wrong with this picture. If city hall could concentrate on something other than the antics of the Ford brothers this is the first thing that should be chopped. I do not care if it costs 5 dollars or 5 million dollars it is stupid and dangerous and no one wants it.

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  16. Thank you for the link to this site. I have been going crazy for the past 10 years wondering what was going on in sherwood park. This park belongs to the people who use it and the people who pay taxes, it is being treated by this group as its own private property for its own idea of what nature is supposed to be. There can be no justification for herbicides and taking away shade even if the city replaces them with some puny saplings that meet city's approval. I hate the cutting, the poison and the fences. Whoever you are ... this is not your park!!!

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  17. I got your link and hoped you were complaining about irresponsible dog owners and walkers. I walk my dog every day in Sherwood Park and the only thing that upset me more than thoughtless people with their dogs was the chopping and pesticides that no one could explain. Years ago I asked a city supervisor who told me it was all over and there would be no more cutting down trees and applying poison. But it did not stop and I was lied to which tells me she must have known what was happening was unpopular and so she lied. With all the fences and signs its more like a minimum security exercise yard than the beautiful natural park ( a park for people as you say) that it used to be. Whos bright idea was it anyway?

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  18. I wondered what was going on in Sherwood Park. I saw all the beautiful trees cut down at the Blythwood entrance and the green stain of the poison. The people doing this are evil. I am seriously seriously worried about taking my little girls down there now. I always thought that stand of trees by Blythwood was very special and it is disgusting to see it mowed down like that and a few straggly sticks planted. We had a beautiful stand of trees! Who needs this? I am calling my councilor.

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    1. These straggle sticks will eventually grown into beautiful trees. That is nature not nat geo or discovery. Not everything in wildlife is instant or lush.

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    2. So if your goal is beautiful trees, why do you chainsaw and poison the beautiful trees that we already had and that everyone loved? As you say, beautiful trees are not instantaneous, so why use poison to wipe out years of natural growth?

      And I would ask once again: You have posted as "Anonymous", making a discussion very difficult as there could be dozens of people posting as "Anonymous" on the site. Are you posting from the Parks Department? Are you a volunteer on this program? What is your association with this program? Let's each of us know who the discussion is with.

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  19. Thank you, that answers a big mystery for me too. I never thought the reason would be this ugly. Killing grown trees with chain saws and poisonous chemicals? This is not a forestry and parks department it is more like some clear cutting developers. I guess I can dab Roundup and Garlin on my lawn and to hell will children and animals who come in contact with it. Someone already said that native species are the ones that are naturally selected by nature for the current conditions. This group is out of control

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    1. How can native species be naturally selected? Nature put them there in the first place, humans have brought trees from ELSEWHERE and they happen to grow well here.

      It's the same with exotic animals. For example red eared slider turtles. Humans buy them then realize they get quite big then release them into the wild.

      What happens is then some of them survive and they out-compete the native turtles for food and sometimes wreak havoc in the food chain because they over eat and that breaks down links.

      The same with trees. Mother nature put certain species of flora & fauna in certain regions/areas/countries for a reason. You can't call it natural selection if they weren't there in the first place.

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    2. I'm sorry, Anonymous, but without your intervention, we would have natural selection by nature of the species most suited for a given environment at a given time. I cannot fathom the hubris that causes you to believe that crews armed with chainsaws and poison know more than nature about species selection.

      That is the kind of arrogance that gave us ecological disasters such as the Three Gorges Dam and Agent Orange. Your motives may be nobler, but the disregard for anything but your own single-minded mission and the toxic consequences for others are the same. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and you are the paving contractor.

      And I would ask once again: You have posted as "Anonymous", making a discussion very difficult as there could be dozens of people posting as "Anonymous" on the site. Are you posting from the Parks Department? Are you a volunteer on this program? What is your association with this program? Let's each of us know who the discussion is with.

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    3. Anon's statements don't make sense - unless his/her argument is that "Nature" is some monolithic entity with a master plan. What was Mother Nature's reason for putting sugar maple trees in the forest, but a Norway Maple is a major offense to this plan? It may not have been indigenous to the forests of southern Ontario but so what?

      At issue is the attack and destruction of a Toronto park (and other green spaces, I gather), the vegetation of which was messed with, manipulated, thinned, seeded, manicured, and otherwise modified for a century or more - all for the benefits & use of Toronto residents, and all sanctioned by the parks department itself. The only issue is the park the park the park THE PARK! and what's being done to it in the name of some noble gesture to Ma Nature.

      I could entertain arguments for the preservation of large tracts of NATURAL boreal forest and deciduous woodlands in Ontario but dicking around in long-established, mature city parks like this is little more that make-work busy-ness for the sole beneficiaries of this activity: unionized city workers.

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  20. It's good to know now who is behind the cutting and pesticides in Sherwood Park. My friend and I were horrified when we saw the chainsaws take out the beautiful glade at the Blythwood entrance. I thought it might have been to deal with an infestation of the borer bugs but I am even more disgusted to learn that the reason is some ridiculous native species obsession. what an ugly mess it is now with a few little sticks planted like that is supposed to keep us happy after destroying the glade. The whole idea is absurd! Leave the park alone and stop spending our money for your own personal obsession.

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  21. I have read city hall's website and they have declared war on our beautiful Norway maple shade trees. They seem to believe that these trees are some kind of non-native invaders, which would apply to 90 percent of Canada's population except that human non-native invaders really did succeed in taking over Canada while Norway maples have had centuries to take over Canada's ravines with absolutely no success. So why go after these non-natives with chainsaws and poison?

    "Norway maples came to North America about 200 years ago, courtesy of European settlers—George Washington himself brought in two for the grounds of his estate. They were valued for their adaptability and vigour, and they made a good street tree because of their ability to thrive in thin and compacted soils, in heat or in drought. To boot, they seem to have no insect enemies—always a bad sign with a foreign plant. Many landscapers love them, particularly the hybrid forms ‘Crimson King’, ‘Princeton Gold’ and ‘Harlequin’. A globular variety is used frequently by hydro companies because it’s short enough to not interfere with overhead wires."

    Sounds to me like the perfect urban tree, n'est-ce pas? Survives all the urban stresses and has already proven that despite its survival qualities it does not create a "monoculture". Leave nature alone!

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    Replies
    1. That's just one tree though. There are countless others that actually do harm and that have come across in the same way as you've described.

      What about non-native trees that have come across in the way you have mentioned that out-compete trees that birds, insects and other mammals use be it for food or shelter?

      Then other wildlife will be non existent.

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    2. You said the Norway Maple is "just one tree though. There are countless others that actually do harm". Maybe we are not as far apart as I thought. It seems we agree that the Norway maple that does not "actually do harm". Then why is the Norway maple the number one target for the Parks department for chainsawing and poisoning?

      But even though we seem to be in agreement, I would ask once again: You have posted as "Anonymous", making a discussion very difficult as there could be dozens of people posting as "Anonymous" on the site. Are you posting from the Parks Department? Are you a volunteer on this program? What is your association with this program? Let's each of us know who the discussion is with.

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    3. I think you're right. Anonymous seems to be agreeing with you that the Norway maple does no damage even in Anonymous's fantasy world. Then stop the bloody program, eejits!

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  22. We have not heard the city's side of this debate so I assume that they know they are poisoning our parks for a personal goal that none of us share and they cannot justify it. They must know about this internet site. The idea that they would use Garlon for such a dubious goal is outrageous. A little research turned up some things.

    Garlon “causes severe birth defects in rats at relatively low levels of exposure.” The rats were born with brains outside their skulls, or without eyelids. “Maternal toxicity was high” and exposed rats also had more failed pregnancies.

    Rat and dog studies showed damage to the kidneys, the liver, and the blood. It’s insidious, because there’s no immediate effect that’s apparent. If someone’s being poisoned, they wouldn’t even know it. In a study on six Shetland ponies, high doses killed two ponies in a week, and two others were destroyed.

    http://sutroforest.com/2010/04/17/garlon-in-our-watershed/

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