Tree plant cam­paign

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page -

Area res­i­dents are again pe­ti­tion­ing the province to sal­vage the On­tario Tree Seed Plant near Bar­rie.

The On­tario govern­ment has closed the 26-acre fa­cil­ity in An­gus, start­ing the “dis­po­si­tion of re­alty” process.

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, con­ser­va­tion au­thor­i­ties and not­for-profit cor­po­ra­tions have un­til the end of June 2019 to ex­press an in­ter­est in ac­quir­ing the prop­erty.

But there's a big catch: the price. The trans­ac­tion must be at mar­ket value, es­ti­mated at many mil­lions of dol­lars, which would pre­clude most pub­lic or char­i­ta­ble bod­ies from ac­quir­ing the land.

A coali­tion of tree plant ad­vo­cates is press­ing the province to en­sure the fa­cil­ity stays in pub­lic hands.

A new pe­ti­tion urges the govern­ment to rec­og­nize the eco­nomic, cul­tural and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of keep­ing the site in pub­lic hands, pro­vide the op- por­tu­nity for mul­ti­ple com­pat­i­ble pro­pos­als to be con­sid­ered and “of­fer af­ford­able fi­nan­cial ar­range­ments to pub­lic en­ti­ties with pro­pos­als that con­trib­ute to the long-term pub­lic good.”

A year ago, ci­ti­zens and groups such as the Raisin Re­gion Con­ser­va­tion Author­ity protested the clo­sure of the plant.

Not­ing the clo­sure would di­rectly af­fect the agency’s tree seedling and re-forestry pro­grams, the RRCA ex­pressed its con­cerns through a let­ter to the province and a pe­ti­tion on its so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

Over 10,000 peo­ple had signed an on­line pe­ti­tion against the clo­sure of the fa­cil­ity.

The cam­paign was launched by a coali­tion af­ter an Au­gust, 2017 an­nounce­ment by the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Forestry that the plant would be shut down in Septem­ber 2018.

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