By By Karen D. MacLellanPublished Nov 05, 2017 10:05AMHALIFAX — If you’ve ever noticed that some of your yard’s most prized trees are dying, or that your neighbors are taking a more aggressive stance against invasive insects, you’re not alone.
The problem, says the Halifax Regional Municipality, is a timber preservation system called the ‘Grizzly Man.’
The system, which has been in operation since the late 1800s, was built to keep the trees from becoming a major pest.
It includes a number of methods, including planting native grasses, keeping out invasive plants, and keeping a low-lying fence around the trees.
It is estimated that the ‘grizzlies’ control about two-thirds of all invasive plants in the province.
But now the issue is becoming a national issue, and the Halifax region is in the middle of a battle with the Gloucestershire-based timber company for control of the ‘tambora tree.’
“We know that there are a number, it’s a very large number,” said Gary Pohl, a senior adviser to the municipality.
“The local communities are in the process of trying to figure out how to deal with the situation.”
A new law passed last year requires the Gloucester County Council to make a decision on whether to allow the Glouchester-based company to manage the ‘Tamboras’ tree, which is estimated to be around one-third of all the trees in the county.
“The decision that the council has to make is a matter of safety,” said Pohl.
The decision will depend on the level of threat to the tree.
The council is required to provide a risk assessment to the company that includes the potential for damage to the trees and how the trees will react to this threat.
For now, the council is considering whether it should allow the company to control the ‘waxman’ tree or the ‘woody man,’ as the Gloucestates are calling the ‘bigwood’ tree.
A representative from the company declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.
Pohl said the council should be aware that a local tree can also pose a threat to other species of trees, such as the oak and elm, as well as other native species.
“If the Gloues are allowed to manage this species, it will create a problem that will not only be detrimental to local trees, but the species in the area,” he said.
The company is currently planning a public meeting on November 6, with an option for an appeal.
Parlus Tractors is a private firm that owns and operates the ‘Waxman,’ which has a range of properties across Nova Scotia.
‘The woody man’ was first planted in the Gloucedon-Berwick region in the early 1900s, and later spread to other parts of the province, including New Brunswick.
The company owns approximately 500 ‘groupees’ in the municipality, and has plans to have at least 100 more by 2020.
The Gloucesterhire-born company employs around 1,000 people in Nova Scotia, with operations in Halifax, New Brunswick, and Fredericton.