Tree removal policy 'clearly inconsistent' with strategic goals
Mountain View County’s tree removal policy is “clearly inconsistent” with its stated top strategic goal for the environment, says a longtime resident of the Stirlingville area.
In a letter to county administration, Fen Roessingh quotes the newly minted strategic goal – to “exert maximum influence to protect and preserve the region’s unique and precious natural environment” – and says the county fell far short when it recently removed a mile-long strip of trees along its right of way on Rge. Rd. 272.
“Digging and burning almost every single tree and bush along Rge. Rd. 272 at Twp. Rd. 302 is clearly inconsistent with this goal,” Roessingh wrote.
“I am suggesting you should re-evaluate the county tree removal strategy.”
Roessingh was replying to a response letter she received from operational services manager Michael MacLean, who acknowledged that her concerns had raised “some very good points” but defended the tree removal as necessary for safety.
“Mountain View County has six strategic goal areas that must be considered before a project of this nature takes place,” MacLean wrote. “Of the six goal areas, three of them, which are Agriculture, Infrastructure, and Environment, are always considered when a work plan is initiated and, as in this case, applied to this project.”
The trees that were removed, MacLean said, “were of a roadway safety concern due to the narrow road and difficulties that our crews had with snowplowing, water drainage and potential road blockage as a result of wind blowing the older trees onto the roadway.”
Roessingh, however, was unconvinced.
“Please be assured that I am not against road safety or agriculture,” she wrote back to MacLean. “The county removed trees that were in no way a concern for road safety or in the way of agriculture.”
She thanked MacLean for promising to share her concerns with department managers and agricultural services, saying she hoped there would be “a change in the road crew attitude towards the diminishing numbers of trees in the county.”
Residing off of Rge. Rd. 272, Roessingh said she really notices the absence of trees around her 15-acre property. “I can literally see for miles into Kneehill County. I can see the lights on the windmills near Trochu on a clear night (over 30 miles).”
Although she has started planting rose and cherry bushes “as a kind of replacement,” she adds in the letter, “at this rate, I guess it will be a long time before we will have ‘replaced’ the mile of habitat along both sides of Rge. Rd. 272.”