Facts and Fiction

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Aug 12, 2013 Comments Off Chris Knight

The rapid increase in the rate of clear cutting that has occurred in Chatham-Kent over the last couple of years has many farmers and citizens concerned.  Chatham-Kent remains as one of only two municipalities in Southern Ontario that does not have a Forest Conservation Bylaw regulating the harvest of trees.  A motion was brought forth by Council to place a moratorium on clear cutting in the municipality.  That motion was referred to staff to prepare a research report and hold private stakeholder as well as public consultation meetings.  What resulted from those consultations and dialogue were constructive meetings between both sides of the issue.

Both of those reports are now available for public review and can be found below.  Public engagement on this issue was at near record levels.  This might be the most important aspect of this issue.  People care.  People care that their water and air is clean. They care about the image of the community in which they own a business. They care about their rights as property owners.

As members of this community, you should take an hour and read Mr. Beaton’s report titled “Trees Forests and Woodlots A Review of the Literature”. Why? Because your tax dollars paid for it. Because it provides concrete evidence instead of coffee shop rhetoric.  The report is easy to read, written in plain English and well sourced.  If you want to find out more about a particular topic, there are 13 pages of works cited that give you a starting point.

Bryan Boyle of Boyle and Associates was hired on as a consultant to facilitate stakeholder meetings and summarize statistics about public engagement on this issue.  Again, his report “Sustainable Forest Cover in Chatham-Kent” is also well written and shows in detail, starting on page 54, the public’s response and engagement at open house meetings held in July 2013.

These reports will form the foundation of how forest cover and its interrelated topics of air and water quality, public health and community perception will be handled in Chatham-Kent.  They help to separate fact from fiction.