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The Weather Network
Aug. 17, 2019 | Saturday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter to the editor: Wetlands could bring Lyme disease, mosquitoes and other pests
File photo.


Dear editor:

A final word on the Parks Canada lands dispute.

By chance, this past week my wife and I met a woman who has been fighting the incredibly debilitating effects of Lyme disease since she was bitten by a deer tick five years ago. Shortly thereafter, we heard the story of the similar struggle of well-known Canadian musician Avril Lavigne, whose tick exposure occurred in her home territory, Napanee, Ont.

There are two lessons here. 1. Lyme disease is horrible, capable of causing fatigue, pain, confusion, fever, facial paralysis, arthritis and even death. 2. The ticks that carry the virus have moved into Ontario in recent years. Public Health Ontario’s Lyme disease map shows the Niagara region is one of Ontario’s deer tick hotspots.

These ticks, which can be as small as a sesame seed, are known to prefer damp, cool settings with long grass, from which they can launch themselves onto passing animals and humans. Wetlands and their borders are listed as one of their most popular habitats.

Wetlands are also known to be home to a variety of other insects, particularly mosquitoes, which in recent years have been shown to carry increasingly vicious viruses, such as West Nile and equine encephalitis.

With all this knowledge before us, do any of us want to see wetlands created right beside long-established urban areas? Do we want to see young families or school groups wading through them? I am certain that thoughtful persons will summarily reject such ideas. Instead, let’s create a park beside Lake Ontario with mown lawns and paved walkways, and keep the dangerous little critters as far away as possible.

If you are concerned, phone your town councillors and mayor, and contact Parks Canada. We’re talking health and happiness here – especially for our children. We must not fail them.

James Tupman