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Counties losing greenspace to development


Parts of Prescott-Russell are looking a bit less green these days. The forest cover is getting a bit thinner in some parts of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) and that is due to continuing economic development, either through commercial and residential expan- sion in some of the villages and towns or more clearcutting of woodlands to make room for new farmland and pasturage. A recent report to the counties council indica- ted that the problem is that natural refores- tation is not keeping up with the treecutting so Prescott-Russell’s forest cover has taken a significant slide below the recommended Environment Canada standard for sustai- nable greenspace. «We’re not saying that all clearcutting is bad,» said Louis Prévost, UCPR planning and forestry director, during a phone inter- view. «What we need is to achieve some sort of balance.» Prévost presented counties council du- ring its Nov. 10 session with a PowePoint summary of a forest cover study done for the UCPR last year.The study was a partnership between the UCPR, the South Nation and Raisin River Conservation Authorities (SNC and RRC), the United Counties of Stormont- Dundas-Glengarry (UCSDG) and Ontario Natural Resources. The study examined forest cover concerns for the entire Five Counties region, including both the South Nation and Raisin River watersheds. Prévost’ presentation focused on the portion of the study dealing with Prescott-Russell. In 2008 Prescott-Russell’s forest cover was almost 30 per cent of the total area for the region. That fits the Environment Canada standard for sustainable greenspace. As of last year, the forest cover percentage for the UCPR in total was 24.82 per cent, almost a five per cent drop. Determining where themost significant reductions in forest cover are is difficult

Trees along Highway 34 just south of Main Street in Vankleek Hill have been clear cut, causing aome concern.

by itself within the bounds of The Nation Municipality, to the large areas encom- passed by the boundaries of either the City of Clarence-Rockland and Russell Township. Also each municipality varies in its indi- vidual community profile from those like The Nation or Alfred-Plantagenet Township, which are rural for the most part and have large expanses of farmland sitting side-by- side with native forests, to municipalities like the Town of Hawkesbury or the Village of Casselman, which are urban for themost part, and thenmunicipalities like Clarence- Rockland and Russell Township, which have a wide mix of both urban and rural areas. For now the aim of the report is to make all those participating in the report aware of the situation. Prévost noted that the report’s findings, and possible options to deal with the situation, will be a primary discussion subject during upcoming meetings of the Upper Canada district in the black The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) trustees had a good news report to review during their Nov. 11 evening session. The auditor’s report for the 2014-2015 fiscal year shows everything “in the black” and meeting all provincial educa- tion ministry standards for balanced budgeting. In a press release UCDSB Chairman Jeff McMillan credited board and staff focus on fiscal responsi- bility while also keeping the safety and needs of students as a priority. – Gregg Chamberlain

UCPR planning and forestry advisory com- mittee, and also for other agencies like SNC. Prévost added that one thing to try to avoid is assigning blame in any discussions of how to address the forest cover situation. «It’s a hot subject,» said Prévost, «and a delicate one as well.»

to say because each of the eight member municipalities in the UCPR vary in actual size from the Village of Casselman sitting

Champlain also concerned with loss of tree cover l i l

OPP billing a concern to Champlain Township

In August 2013, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) developed a new, simplified billing model for OPP municipal police services. «The new billing formula is pleasing to about 15 per cent,” said Mayor Gary Barton. «And it cheesed off the other 85 per cent.” The new billing model did not include examination or review of expenditures in order to reduce the costs of OPP services per household. The new model was implemented in 2015 and will be phased in over the next three years. As such, the Champlain Township OPP services invoice was increased by $167,249, and will be increased another $196,769 bringing the bill to a total of $1,584,534. The township is requesting the MCSCS review and reconsider the new billing model and implement a more equitable formula. The council voted almost unanimously to request the review. Normand Riopel did not vote as he was not in atten- dance at the council meeting November 11. – Diane Hunter


Mayor Barton explained to council that the county is looking into the issue, and some solutions will be coming soon. Councilor Troy Carkner suggested looking into the South National Conservation tree planting program to replace some of the trees that have been cut. Councilor Helen MacLeod was concer- ned about old growth forests in the area. “Are they going to be protected?” askedMacLeod. “Some of those trees are 100 years old. It would be a shame if it was clear cut. I’d like to see them protected. « MacLeod also expressed concern about downed trees causing drainage issues and Mayor Barton was concerned about the cold winds blowing with the absence of trees. «I will bring back more information from the county,” said Barton. «It is a big concern for everyone. Right now there is nothing in place to prevent people fromcutting trees. « r t t c t i l i i s l ti i l r r t ti l r r t l b t. il l a t ol g t g i t b “ f t l b i t s t l tr r B rt w i s bl i i i l ri t ,” i f r e r . i l t pr t

Champlain council is concerned over the loss of trees in the townshipwhich is crea- ting all kinds of problems. Council is considering implementing a bylaw to prevent people fromcutting down their trees and is looking for possible action that can be taken to slow the clearing of trees in the township. “We can’t tell people what to do on their own land,” said Champlain mayor Gary Barton. “Essex County pushed a tree cutting bylaw and it was nothing but headaches.” Several trees have been cut down and cleared recently tomake way for new deve- lopments, expanded crops, and clearing. Council is concerned that the clearing of somany trees could cause several problems for the township including drainage, and snow buildup. Champlain council is concerned over t e lo s of tr es in the townshipwhich is crea- ting all kinds of proble s. Council is considering imple enting a bylaw to prevent people fro cu ting do their tr es and is l oking for po sible actio that can be taken to slow the clearing of tr es in the township. “ e can’ te l people w at to do on their own land,” said Cha lai mayor Gary Barton. “E sex County pus e a tr e cu ting bylaw and it was nothing b t headaches.” Several tr es have b en cut do a cleared recently tomake way for ne deve- lopments, expanded crops, and cleari g. Council is concerned that the clearing f somany tr es could cause several proble s for the township including drainage, a snow buildup.

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