The City of Charlottetown has partnered with local wood millers and artisan woodworkers on alternative uses for the Dutch elm diseased American elm wood in the city.
The wood millers and woodworkers have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the city that includes requirements designed to minimize the spread of Dutch elm disease. To date, Royalty Hardwoods, and woodworkers Gary Torlone, Andy Collier and Gary Loo have signed the agreement and will be provided with some of the cut wood. The City is also in conversation with several others.
"We have worked hard to find alternative uses for the diseased wood besides burying it all, and are pleased to be able to announce these partnerships," said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. "The cleanup of the cut wood has been difficult and slower than we anticipated due to the number of storms we experienced and the volume of snow that fell in the past few months. It is also very sad to watch these historic elms being removed. The silver lining in this unfortunate situation as we manage this incurable elm disease is that these woodworking projects will put some of the wood to good use and assist in our cleanup efforts, which we anticipate will be easier as the weather cooperates. We thank the public for their support, patience and continued cooperation as we work toward completion of this project."
More than half of the 323 diseased trees have been removed to date with the remaining expected to be removed by the end of April. The City will not be releasing any of this elm wood to the general public. The wood is diseased and must be disposed of properly in order to manage the spread of DED. Those who have signed an MOU with the City will use the wood for flooring, trim, cabinets and other artisan products such as dishes and carvings. Royalty Hardwoods plans to donate a portion of the flooring sales from the reclaimed elm wood to Habitat for Humanity.
"Royalty Hardwoods is always looking at ways to add value to any wood products, such as salvaged trees or reclaimed lumber from old buildings that can be transformed into unique and high end products," said Martinus Rose, Owner of Royalty Hardwoods Ltd. "When we heard that the City of Charlottetown was removing some diseased elms, we contacted them to see if we could secure some of the logs to process the trees into a variety of wood products at our manufacturing facility. We will be making a range of items including live edge mantles, trim, stairs, furniture components and flooring. These will be available for sale to the general public. With this partnership, these elm trees will be able to live on, in another form, for a few more decades or possibly even centuries."
Councillor Kevin Ramsay, Chair of the City’s Advanced Planning, Priorities and Special Projects Committee, said additional uses for the wood are also being examined as the cleanup continues.
"City employees continue to work hard to find other alternatives for the end-use of this wood," said Councillor Ramsay. "Our No. 1 priority is still managing the disease itself, but we do hope to have more announcements like this in the coming weeks on ways the diseased wood will be used."
More information on the City’s Dutch elm disease management program is available at: www.charlottetown.ca or by calling 902-566-5548.
City of Charlottetown