Letter to my City Councillor re Orchard

Another spring, another "Dear Joe [Mihevc]" letter!

"----- Original Message -----

Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 11:01

Subject: Concerns re Orchard in Ben Nobleman

I was the troublemaker tonight who brought up the issue of roadside toxins. I'm emailing just to clarify my views.

First of all, that this a great plan that I'd love to be part of somehow, and that ... has worked incredibly hard. It's not my intention to derail the orchard; as a parent in the neighbourhood, I would love to see it happen SOON.

However, conversations with ... have led me to have a few reservations about toxins found in roadside areas and in emissions.

I should add that I started out skeptical about this pollution issue. My first reaction was, "no big deal - we eat urban produce, like in our backyard, all the time."

But with that specific location and the numbers of vehicles idling there every day (eg buses lining up to enter the station, idling while they're there, plus all the cars and trucks idling to get onto Allen Road), I began to think perhaps there is cause for specific concern with that particular spot - ideal though it may be for many reasons.

The responses I received tonight were not reassuring.

I was told, you'll remember, that, while you wouldn't want to pick the fruit and eat it right away, you could easily wash off every potentially-harmful chemical.

Their evidence? The trees survive in the urban environment (so it can't be that toxic, which botanically speaking, isn't necessarily true) and that everybody eating fruit from urban trees in similar orchards seems perfectly healthy.

I was pretty surprised there wasn't more evidence - like testing the inside of the fruit for residues of

I was surprised that there is so much time and energy going into making this project organic without much concern as to chemicals in the air being taken in by the trees and possibly stored in
their fruit.

(One person at the meeting mentioned that I could certainly choose not to eat the fruit - which is exactly my frustration. I don't have enough information right now make a choice, one way or another.)

Let me be clear once again: I really want this project to go ahead; what a great use of a tiny urban
But I'm curious what the best way is to ascertain the safety of the fruit grown in the park.

Thanks once again for your time and hard work for our community!

Yours truly,



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