TBM residents question clear cutting of future parkland

A number of residents in the Town of The Blue Mountains have raised alarm bells about the clear-cutting of future parkland in a development near the Blue Mountain Village.

Local residents told council that they were shocked to see all the trees removed from the property slated to be a future park in the Blue Vista development on Oct. 10 and 11.

Nancey and Reg Adamson were a delegation at council’s meeting on Oct. 30 to discuss the issue. Another local resident Stephen Granger wrote to council about the matter and also spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. Irene Bond also wrote to council questioning why the trees had been removed.

“Why would you remove all the trees in an area designated for a park?” Reg Adamson asked. “The removal of these trees has been very disappointing.”

In his letter, Granger echoed the concerns.

“This entire town park block #119 was completely clear cut by the developer/contractor in only two days! I and a number of community resident homeowners were confused and shocked as to why this happened,” Granger said in his letter.

Multiple members of town staff explained that the removal of the trees from the property was a condition of the development agreement with the developer. They also said the town will soon be conducting a public engagement process to develop a new town park space on the property.

“We really want to hear from the community about what they want,” said Ryan Gibbons, the town’s director of community services.

CAO Shawn Everitt said a future report/plan for the property would be coming to council soon.

“We have heard loud and clear through the Craigleith working group that we need more park space in Craigleith,” he said.

Members of council were not pleased to see the trees had been removed, but said they are hopeful the town’s updated environmental policies will prevent such actions in the future.

“This is an opportunity to start doing things differently,” said Mayor Andrea Matrosovs.

Other councillors said they hoped the situation would be a learning experience for the town.

“There are a few lessons here,” said Coun. Paula Hope. “We need to be thinking well ahead as to if we need to be doing this kind of cutting.”

Coun. June Porter agreed.

“I’ve not known a park that has to be clear cut to be planned,” said Porter. “We can’t replace the years of growth here.”

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,