Tree cutting menaces lake
Aphoto which speaks for itself and gives witness to a complete lack of respect for our precious environment: the illegal cutting of more than 75 trees in the shoreline buffer zone in Sargent’s Bay, Lake Memphremagog, in the municipality of Austin! Memphremagog Conservation Inc. (MCI) condemns this senseless and inexcusable act and demands the imposition of the severest penalties possible.
According to the MCI’s volunteer president, Gisèle Lacasse Benoit, “Such acts have been prohibited by the “Policy on the protection of shorelines, littorals and floodplains” for more than 35 years! It is important that fines severe enough to dissuade such behaviours be imposed in order to prevent such situations from occurring in the future. This cutting will cost the owner of the property $ 7,550 while his property is worth several million dollars! The message being sent is beyond understanding! For his part, the contractor who actually cut down the trees received a fine of $ 6,850.
“MCI is asking all the municipalities which border the lake to adopt severe penalties for those who violate the rules, since current fines are in no way representative of the severity of the acts committed. Those who wish to break the rules would think twice before committing such acts!”
Mrs. Lacasse Benoit adds: “We deplore the fact that there are still citizens without scruples who act in this way. The owner of this property acted with full knowledge of the rules: cutting trees, many of which were old cedars, within the 10 metre shoreline buffer zone is not permitted. This act harms the quality of the lake’s water. In fact, shoreline buffer zones play a critical role at many levels: they contribute to the prevention or the reduction of contamination of the water by acting as a barrier to the flow of sediments and by minimizing shoreline soil erosion (sanitation function), they protect aquatic and shoreline habitats (ecological function), preserve natural landscapes (aesthetic function), serve as a screen against excessive heating of the lake’s water, regulate the hydrological cycle, as well as ensuring the aesthetic qualities of the landscape.”