Daryl’s hosting Christmas tree drop-off

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer

Still have a real Christmas tree around?

The Fort Frances Volunteer Fire Brigade is doing a Christmas tree drop off on Jan. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Daryl’s Custom Landscape Ltd. on 881 Sixth Street West.

Mike Barlow, president of the Volunteer Fire Brigade, said given the rising COVID-19 case numbers in the region, they want to limit having many volunteers in the same vehicle by having residents drop off their trees themselves.

“If people were really banking on getting rid of their Christmas trees, and they didn’t have anywhere to go, or they didn’t want to wait to go take them to the dump, that this Saturday it’s free,” Barlow said. “You can just take them out there and drop it off.”

After all the trees are dropped off, Barlow said a controlled burning tree takes place in the evening at the drop off site.

“We are thankful that Daryl is letting us do the drop off there this year,” Barlow said. “Otherwise we wouldn’t have too much of an option for pickup.”

Barlow said they have a deal with Daryl to monitor the drop off site and make sure residents are only dropping off Christmas trees and not anything else.

Barlow added that they are not asking for donations because they are not providing a service. He said they are hoping to return to the actual pick up next year when the COVID-19 guidelines allow it.

“If someone’s really compelled to donate, they can definitely contact me or the fire hall,” Barlow said. “And they can drop something off and it’ll be pushed into next year’s fund whatever we decide as a brigade to donate to. I think we’re just gonna lump it into next year, hopefully when things kind of return to normal. And there’s more trees and more opportunities to donate.”

Christmas tree pick-ups have been taking place since the 1980s, and on average Barlow said they have had a couple of hundred trees per year. The amount of trees they picked up has not changed much in the last three years.

“There was a consistently high volume that it took a group of probably 12 volunteers about five or six hours to go through town and pick them up,” Barlow said.

Last year donations went to the Riverside Foundation, Barlow said.

“Typically, before we would do that, we always pick a local organization to donate it to,” Barlow said, adding that the goal is to have residents put their Christmas trees outside because it could become a fire hazard.

We apologize that this is the best we can do this year,” he added. “And we were looking forward to getting back to normal pickup next year.”