If A Tree Falls In The Forest, Does Anybody Hear?

And How Many More Trees Are Going to Have to Fall in Forests in Niagara Before We Get a Stronger                    Tree Protection Bylaw in this Region?

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper 

Posted November 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

‘Cut and move on
Cut and move on
Take out trees
Take out wildlife at a rate of species every single day.’

  • Lyric’s from Bruce Cockburn’s song ‘When a Tree Falls in the Forest’

Canadian-born singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn performed a sold-out concert at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines this October and one of the songs he sang was If A Tree Falls in the Forest.

As Cockburn performed the song, members of the audience joined him in singing the chorus; “If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear?”

Last year, a number of trees were sawed down or bulldozed out of the way in forests in Niagara Falls and Fort Erie, and on the property of a historic old estate in Niagara-on-the-Lake , and many people heard.

A tree taken down in Waverly Woods in Fort Erie last year, much to the chagrin of residents in the community, fighting to keep the woods free of urban development.

They not only heard and witnessed the destruction themselves, they made angry calls to the powers that be in government, only to be told, for the most part,  that the regional government’s current tree protection bylaw is not strong enough to do anything of any real substance about it.

An image citizens fighting to save the Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario have circulated on social media in recent years.

I made a call to Niagara’s regional government earlier this year to find out if the Region’s then,  new council might be looking at the possibility of strengthening the tree protection bylaw that it delegates powers to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) to enforce.

I also asked if the Region might consider fully and openly consulting with members of the public – and that means citizens concerned about saving pieces of our natural heritage and not just developers and the like – on what should be included in a new tree protection bylaw before anything is passed.

I was told by a regional government spokesperson that a review of the tree protection bylaw is in the cards, but more than six months later, we haven’t heard a thing.

The above aerial photos of the property of the historic Randwood Estate in Niagara-on-the-Lake, taken for the citizens group SORE (Save Our Rand Estate), before and after trees on the property were cut down this past year, 2018

So the next time trees falls in a forest in Niagara and members of the public express concern and anger over it, will they get the same answer  they  were given in the past,  that under the current bylaw, there is little or nothing that can be done about it?

Click on the screen below, to hear Bruce Cockburn singing the song –

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“A politician thinks of the next election. a leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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