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Scanned copy, if there are errors, please e-mail me with corrections:
Page - - Mississauga News, June 29/94

Save the trees group gives committee an earful


The Friends of the Cawthra Bush and Greater Mississauga Area were anything but friendly toward members of the City's Heritage Advisory Committee Monday.

The concerned citizens want to halt the City's plans to cut down about 1,800 trees from parks and conservation areas in Mississauga, including the Cawthra woodlot at the southeast corner of Cawthra Rd. and the Queen Elizabeth Way.

The City is under fire from the angry citizens who say it acted in haste when the woodlot was thinned last winter. And they want to stop a plan to cut more trees this year.

The Heritage Advisory Committee's public meeting was intended to be an information session for City staff, committee members and the public. But the lobbyists did not see it that way.

"I thought I would have at least have half (the time) they had to do the presentation. But all I got to do was ask a few questions," said group member Donald Barber.

Supporter Diane McKiel said, "It doesn't matter what the public has to say. It may take a little longer, but they (City staff) are going to do whatever they want anyway. Taxpayers pay their salaries, but they don't care."

The group complained to city hall when the municipality began to cull trees from the Cawthra bush last winter. After it complied with the City's request to put its concerns in writing, it received an answer "that showed a complete lack of ecological understanding," said Sheila McKay-Kuja, a botanist and ecologist.

More than 40 forests, historical sites, parks and conservation areas are subject to tree-cutting as part of the city's new Wood Lot Management Program.

The group wants to monitor public meetings and make city staff more accountable for their actions, said member Gail Green.

John Rydzewski, director of administration and parks, defended the City's position and said it waft under both cost and time constraints.

Ecologist McKay-Kuja said despite what City officials say, there is no documented evidence that Cawthra Woods is losing it vitality and the area should be left as is.

"Natural heritage is more precious than built heritage. We have a beautiful piece of natural heritage at Cawthra. It makes no sense to rehabilitate it," she said.

The city proposes to build granular pathways and offer information pamphlets so people could wander through and learn the history of area.

But pathways would create opening from the cut trees and removed stems. These gaps, if large enough, would expose the ecosystem to an invasion of alien species, said McKay-Kuja.

"The trees are not the only things we should be looking at. We should be looking at the whole system."

After McKay-Kuja's presentation, the committee passed a motion to create a more detailed plan that would more carefully analyze the criteria and effects involved in tree removal.

It will make a difference!

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[COMMENTS BY DON B. - This is a classic case of a newspaper rewriting events to create a negative public opinion, a City of Mississauga method as well. ]

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