Letter to the Editor: Who’s on third?

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Sir: I attended the C-K council meeting on Feb. 11 and I cannot help but be amazed at how a lack of information can result in such mass confusion! The topic under consideration was the proposed moratorium on the destruction of woodlots in C-K.

Many excellent arguments were given that evening, but what was abundantly clear was that what we were discussing was anything but clear.

It was very obvious from his comments that one east Kent councilor did not even know what was going on! How in the world could the rest of us be fully informed?

In the interim, a local leader of the rural community was quoted in the Daily News as expressing concerns that are also inaccurate and consequently adding additional fuel to the fire.

In retrospect, not to have had a presentation by municipal/LTCVA staff to clearly outline the issue at the beginning of the public input is at the root of much of the present anger and “ill will” within our community”!

This was obviously a poor sense of judgment, but it is “water under the bridge” so lets move on!

I realize that it is “late in the game”, but using the old adage “better late then never”, I would like to refer to my copy of the “temporary by-law prohibiting woodlot destruction as obtained from “legal services” within the “municipality of C-K”.

I shall outline in as objective manner as possible the key points of this document. If at any point I appear biased, I can assure you that it was not by intent and I apologize!

1/ the motion of January 28, 2013: “that council place an immediate moratorium on the clear cutting of forest and tree cover within the municipality pending the consideration of a woodlot conservation by-law and that such a moratorium remains in effect for a period of 6 months”!

Note: 1/ a conditional statement following the motion in the document is that: “the bylaw includes a number of permitted exemptions for tree cutting that fall short of complete destruction!

2/ conversation surrounding the motion included the clear intent to develop a permanent bylaw after consultation with all stake holders and that landowner compensation be a key element of these deliberations.

2/ the document clarifies that: orchards, x-mas tree operations, nurseries, and fence rows are exempt.

3/ the following is a summary of additional exemptions from my understanding of the provincial ”good forestry practices” legislation that was referenced within our interim bylaw and typically incorporated into other permanent municipal tree protection bylaws. These should be of particular interest to landowners and are all subject to negotiations during the development phase.

The landowner may remove trees at their discretion for the following reasons: (again, other reasons may be locally negotiated!)

1) dead or damaged trees

2) obtaining firewood

3) establishing a quarry

4) the construction of any building/business (with building permit) and accompanying requirements: eg. Septic system, yard area etc.

5) construction of a driveway

6) construction of drainage systems

7) logging -the act refers to “appropriate harvesting” which in most jurisdictions means either trees under 10” at breast height are protected or there is a restriction on the percentage of harvested trees. All other trees can be harvested.

In effect, contrary to all of the coffee shop rumours, ”the traditional responsible farming operation within C-K would likely experience no negative impact whatsoever as a result of a “tree protection bylaw” on their farming activities. In fact, if there is a willingness to negotiate, and landowner compensation is achieved (something that I have supported for years!), there could be a significant benefit resulting in a healthier and more viable C-K for all!

The above conditions also reflect the information contained in the “best farming practices” documentation as endorsed by OMAFRA and the OFA and distributed by Ridgetown college.

I know who’s on third- it’s b. Smart and if b. Reasonable hits a homer, the home team wins!

 

Gary Eagleson

Chatham

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