The brown spruce longhorn beetle is wreaking havoc with the trees in Halifax's Point Pleasant Park -- not to mention presenting a ticklish political situation for NDP leader and local MP Alexa McDonough.
Plans are in the works to begin cutting down and burning 10,000 infected trees in the park at the mouth of Halifax harbour.
A federal-provincial task force concluded recently that if the trees aren't axed now, the pesky beetle may spread to area forests -- some have already been spotted 100 kilometres away -- and spoil logging in the region.
Area eco-activists, however, are not entirely convinced. Their experts say the beetle is only attacking already dead trees.
A leaked federal report rated the beetle's risk to the park as low. But a federal government spokesperson says that was only a preliminary finding and that time is now of the essence.
McDonough, meanwhile, finds herself caught between constituents who want to see the park saved and logging interests that fear the beetle is posing a threat to the industry.
"Obviously, it's a very delicate situation," says McDonough, who's calling for a more comprehensive scientific review. EDM
Beetle laying waste to East Coast forests