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Happy ending to tree cutting by Motel Raphael – NDG borough oversees replanting


We reported this spring about a large, unauthorized tree cutting in western NDG near the former Motel Raphael. Happily, this story now seems to have a happy ending; the area has now been replanted with a mix of tree species.


“I want to thank borough mayor Russell Copeman, his staff, and councillors Jeremy Searle and Peter McQueen for their good work on this,” Lisa Mintz told The Times. “The borough oversaw the replanting that was done with the cooperation of the landowners.” Mintz heads the environmental group, Sauvons la Falaise.


Questions remain about who cut the trees without proper permits in March of this year and why. Nobody ever claimed responsibility for the cutting says Mintz, citing sources at the borough of Cote-des-Neiges / Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CDN-NDG). Apart from chainsaws, it seems that heavy equipment, perhaps including a bulldozer, was used.


The land on the steep slope is zoned so that no construction can take place there. Mintz also has been told that it is unclear who presently owns the land because it is in testate (part of a succession). Although the borough intended to slap a heavy fine on the landowners, it is unclear this ever happened.


When the trees were cut in early spring, environmentalists were not the only ones concerned. David Marshall, Executive Director of Revitalization Saint-Pierre, spoke to The Times about the importance of trees in fighting “urban heat islands” that raise local temperatures.


”Saint Pierre faces comparably higher temperatures every summer, upwards of 2 to 3 degrees C higher than greener neighbourhoods on top of the Escarpment. Trees and green spaces have been planted to counter the problem, but losing additional forested zones in the vicinity would counteract our re-greening efforts that were actually funded provincially,” Marshall told us in March.


The heat islands can be a serious health concern; some residents in nearby St. Pierre who cannot afford air conditioners. Birdwatchers were also among those alarmed about the unauthorized tree cutting.


Mintz stands beside maple sapling in happy ending
Mintz stands beside maple sapling in happy ending

Mintz admits to originally thinking that preparation for the tree planting was illegal road construction in this sector. But when she realized that saplings were being planted, became ecstatic in her praise. On Nov. 27, local Borough mayor Russell Copeman tweeted Mintz’s comments “about the amazing tree replanting by @CDN_NDG.”


“I went to the end of Westmore Street in late November and found many saplings; there were white pines and maple trees, oaks, and poplars planted up and down the slope,” said Mintz. “I look forward to seeing them grow tall.”

by John Symon – totimes.ca


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