South Glengarry park will be clear-cut; crowdfunding eyed for replacements

Red paint marks trees for removal in Glen Gordon Park on County Road 34 in South Glengarry, Ont. on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. Township council has endorsed a plan to fell almost every tree in the park and is planning on looking to the community for donations to replace them. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

LANCASTER – South Glengarry council has had a change of heart on clear-cutting a park north of Lancaster.

“The trees that are marked are done,” Coun. Martin Lang said Friday after a visit to Glen Gordon Park on County Road 34 at Concession Road 4, north of Lancaster.

During the previous budget meeting the Williamstown farmer was “not keen” on spending $50,000 to clear out the municipal park’s tree cover.

There are roughly 80 Scotch pine in the roadside park and almost all of them have red lines on their trunks from a forester’s assessment that they need to be removed.

Council also got an update on the costing at its budget meeting (Nov. 19) that the $50,000 budgeted will only cover removing the trees and taking out of the stumps – not adding topsoil or seeding the area and not replacing the trees.

The municipality is banking on the kindness of local taxpayers who may donate toward the purchase of young trees for the park.

Parks Director Sherry-Lynn Servage said there is already one person that wants to donate.

“Maybe that can be expanded upon. Maybe there are other community members who would step forward and if we say we’re going to take down the trees that are finished and clean up the site but we are looking for community members to step forward and maybe they can do a little fundraising…I’m not saying that they’re going to,” Coun. Lang added.

Coun. Stephanie Jaworski added the park needs to be replanted in a “proactive fashion” and “if it’s community members are stepping up to donate trees I think and if, maybe, we want to invest a bit of money.” She suggested a few saplings and maybe a few larger trees to make it “a little less sparse.”

Coun. Sam McDonell was the only councillor against the plan, leaning toward a more staged removal and replacement. “It’s not going to look like much of a park if we take out every single tree there,” he said.

While sticking with his position, Coun. Lang agreed with McDonell that the park will look “pretty decimated.”

In closing the discussion, Deputy Mayor Lyle Warden said it needs to be done as some trees are “quite ripe” and are a safety hazard.

“Just, get it done.”

The 2022 budget still needs to be passed at a township council meeting.