By Chad Ingram
County councillors have granted a request for relief from the the municipality’s tree-cutting bylaw for the clearing of six acres of a red pine plantation in Algonquin Highlands.
The owner of a woodlot off Tulip Road near Carnarvon filled out what is considered a minor relief application to clear six acres to use agricultural land as a wildlife feeding area growing wheat clover etc.
According to a report from county conservation officer James Rogers there is evidence the property was previously used for agricultural purposes.
“The plantation is approximately 40 years old and has recently been thinned out under a good forestry practices regime” the report reads. “There is evidence of previous agricultural use of this portion of the property. Upon review of the application and a visit to the site it appears
that the clearing of this area will not have a significant impact on the forest resources of the area on a landscape level. No issues were identified in the Species at Risk database however it is the applicant’s
responsibility to exercise due diligence with respect to the Endangered Species Act.”
The application form stated the cleared lumber would be utilized and not destroyed and that a 40-foot buffer of mixed softwood would be left between the cleared area and the roadway.
Algonquin Highlands Deputy-reeve Liz Danielsen expressed concern over the application.
“Here comes my tree-hugger hat” Danielsen said. “It doesn’t seem minor to me. There’s wildlife everywhere. Danielsen said she also did not consider the use to be agricultural.
Rogers said there was no set definition for what constitutes minor relief.
Algonquin Highlands Reeve and County Warden Carol Moffatt said she didn’t understand the idea of cutting down wildlife habitat in order to feed wildlife.
“There’s very little undergrowth if any” Rogers said.
Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin who previously worked in the forestry industry said he’d seen cases where there’d been more wildlife on a property following a clear cut.
Devolin said he had no problem with the application.
“The pine plantation is a manmade construct” he said. “I don’t have a problem with it.”
The application was approved by council.