Tree cut­ting men­aces lake

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Austin

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.”

Photo coutesy

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