Austin gets tough on tree-cutter
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.