2020-07-15

Demonstrators protest tree-cutting

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>SUBMITTED PHOTO</p><p>An image supplied by Judi Milne, who was on site of a July 9 demonstration over tree-cutting in Petite Riviere.</p>

A plan to cut down trees along Highway 331 in Petite Riviere was met with public protest and resulted in at least a temporary stay of execution for the plants.

About three dozen "concerned citizens", as Judi Milne put it to LighthouseNOW, showed up the morning of July 9 to ask questions and express worries about the work.

"They are beautiful old trees on the road to Petite," Milne said, reporting "lots of people on both sides of the road" were involved in the demonstration, which lasted about an hour.

Nova Scotia's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal commissioned a job to cut down four trees on a provincial right-of-way area near the Wentzell Road intersection.

"From what I gathered in conversation, the trees were being cut so a piece of property bordering the trees could have a driveway access," resident Linda Mason said on social media.

Mason was one of the residents in the region who posted online messages about, and images of, the demonstration.

As a result of on-site talks, it was decided workers would put the boom trucks and chainsaws away for now.

"While we do our best to avoid cutting trees, we must balance the need to provide safe highways for motorists," Marla MacInnis, a spokeswoman for the transportation department, told LighthouseNOW.

"We agreed to pause our work until we can sit down with the community and have more fulsome conversations about the scope of the project. We look forward to those discussions."

Peter Barss also took to social media with questions about public consultation, indicating the same trees were slated for the chopping block years ago but public resistance stopped the process.

"If the issue was raised again, [Lunenburg West MLA Mark] Furey said, there would be public consultation. There was none this time."

Meanwhile, Mason is confident "nothing will be done until there is a community information session which most likely will be held at the Petite Riviere Fire Hall."

"So the beautiful trees continue to grace the small highway in Petite Riviere," said Mason.

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