Letters to the Editor for April 15

Earth Day a time to consider the fate of our trees

Earth Day is fast approaching, and it is a good time to reflect on our care of trees.

We can count our blessings that we live in a community where there is no clear-cutting of trees, which could lead to a mudslide like the recent one in Washington State.

If our trees had not been hollow due to fungus, would there have been fewer falling branches and power outages during the December ice storm?

It used to be that if a tree limb was cut off, paint or tar would be applied to protect the heartwood from fungal spores. How can citizens be reminded that trees are living beings – not unlike us, if we had a limb severed and left untreated – so that we and the trees will continue to give each other life?

If we had to do without food and water, we would die. Gardeners give water to small flowers and forget the much larger trees. How can we care better for our trees?

We have been told trees protect us from summer air pollution by absorbing the pollutants. Then what happens to the trees? The ash trees on Queen Street East are losing resistance to the emerald ash borer from the stress of air pollution. How can our trees be given cleaner air to breathe?

There is much that we can do, and it boils down to a simple fact: no trees, no people.

Lorna Houston
Norway Avenue


Tank car dangers arouse concern

Could Toronto suffer a lethal explosion of rail tanker cars like the disaster that killed 47 residents in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, last July?

The federal Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is worried. Among its proposals is “strategic route planning,” which could mean keeping hazardous oil cargo out of Toronto.

Tanker-car derailments are not rare. Since 2008, tanker cars have jumped the tracks 10 times, spilling 3 million gallons of oil. Meanwhile, rail tanker shipments have become much more frequent – 320 times higher last year than in 2009.

Toronto has not been spared. The train that exploded in Lac Mégantic came through our city, on the CP Rail tracks that cut through East York. Activists spot several tanker trains a day on that line, made up of substandard Class 111 tank cars that rail consultant Fred Millar called “Pepsi cans on wheels.”

Yet railroads refuse to inform residents about hazardous cargo going through their neighbourhoods.

City council has approved a motion by councillor Mary Fragedakis to ask city staff to determine what the city can do to assure rail safety. She will speak at 7 p.m. on April 24 at the Danforth Mennonite Church, 2174 Danforth Ave. Everyone is welcome. For more information, email eastendnotar@gmail.com.

John Riddell
Norwood Terrace


Praise for Easter Parade politician ban

Congratulations and thanks to the Beaches Lions Club for having the courage to ban politicians from participating in this year’s Easter parade. Politics in Toronto has become a blood sport. How wrong to have our families and kids as a backdrop for such inflammatory and bitter campaigning. Our parade is about unity and community, not brutal partisan campaigning.

Don Quinlan
Boardwalk Drive

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