Austin gets tough on tree-cut­ter

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier Austin

At Austin’s Mon­day night coun­cil meet­ing, coun­cil unan­i­mously adopted a by-law to give a man­date to their lawyers to get a court or­der to have an Austin res­i­dent re­plant trees and veg­e­ta­tion on his lake­side prop­erty where 108 huge hem­locks were re­cently cut down. “In the last few weeks, peo­ple have been ask­ing what we were go­ing to do about it. All eyes have been on us,” ex­plained Austin’s mayor, Lisette Maillé.

“The trees were in a pro­tected band. There are a few trees left but they are now en­dan­gered; they could come down in a strong wind,” she said. “We won’t be happy with just the plant­ing of seeds; those trees were ma­ture.”

“We in­tend to send a clear sig­nal that we have by-laws for a rea­son. They have been in place since 2008 and we can’t al­low peo­ple to act in a dis­re­spect­ful man­ner. In this case, there is a col­lec­tive prin­ci­pal at work. We need to pro­tect the lake that we drink from.”

“In a let­ter that Mr. Zakuta sent the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, he said that one of the rea­sons they bought that prop­erty was for the pow­er­ful hem­locks that dom­i­nated the prop­erty. Now he can prove that be­cause with the new tech­nol­ogy, and be­cause he has the means, he can restore the site.”

Mr. Zakuta re­ceived and paid two fines for the de­struc­tive work done on his prop­erty: one of $6,875 for the il­le­gal cut­ting of 108 trees, and a sec­ond of $637 for the re­moval of veg­e­ta­tion form the shore­line. The con­trac­tor who car­ried out the work, Gas­ton Har­ton, of Pot­ton, re­ceived two fines of the same amount.

Michael Zakuta, a Bea­cons­field res­i­dent, is the pres­i­dent of Plaza­corp Re­tail Properties Ltd. which owns shop­ping malls and strip malls in the Mar­itimes, Que­bec and On­tario.

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