Bylaw or bust



We’re going to find out very shortly if Chatham-Kent council has the courage to learn from its mistakes regarding woodlot management.

Next Monday, council will examine a staff report that includes a draft bylaw and the development of a conservation policy by next April.

Unless council enacts an immediate moratorium on clear-cutting, any other action it takes is, in present terms, irrelevant.

Council had a chance to do the right thing earlier this year when the idea of a bylaw was first proposed, but it caved in to special interests. As a result, woodlot after woodlot was chopped, stripped and burned.

Another delay and we can expect more of the same.

One reason this area is one of only two in Southwestern Ontario without any bylaw is that even the mention of a bylaw gave local politicians an anxiety attack.

“We can’t talk about that because the landowners will cut down the trees before we get it done” was the common school of thought.

They were right.

When Wallaceburg Coun. Sheldon Parsons broached the issue and council ducked it, the chainsaws went into action.

The legacy is in the giant piles of dead trees and the desert-like dust storms sweeping across acres that had been protected by tree cover.

Let’s be very clear here. We are NOT favouring a bylaw – we are NOT favouring a policy.

We favour stopping clear cutting until responsible representatives from each viewpoint have a chance to develop what’s best for our community.

It is beyond comprehension how council can’t see the wisdom in protecting what we have (or had) while we plan for the future.

A lack of action is nothing more than political pandering to special interest groups.

Caught in the middle are responsible landowners (many of them farmers) who are getting tarred with a very broad brush.

It’s a minority of landowners who use the benefits of being in a community when it suits their purposes and claim independence when being part of that community means thinking of more than their narrow interests.

We need leadership now, not in six months.


  1. BRAVO, Jim!! A great editorial on a tremendously important topic. As residents, we should all pay close attention to this. And, btw, just to be clear, although I respect everyone's right to their opinion, my feelings on this subject run polar opposite to the opinion expressed in the previous post by Mr. Maynard.

  2. Brad so far there is immense support from the farming community for the implementation of a By-Law I would not call over 500 farmers and 4,500 citizens an "environmental lobby group". You are using propaganda and are totally speculatorial about your assumption over who actually is in support of a By-Law and who is not. This has been the issue the entire time, those landowners/farmers that support a By-Law are feeling like Council does not care about their voices and are starting to speak out. As for "property rights" trumping the environment we would all be in grave danger if that was the case. If no one ever fought for the "greater good" humans might have already done themselves in.

  3. Council, please do not cave in to the people who claim to speak for the entire agricultural community. They have a libertarian agenda to protect their 'property rights' at all costs and are fully willing to cut their forests only to spite others. Those woodlots cut this year are never going to make money for these people ($4 corn now). By the way Brad, there are no real property rights enshrined in the Canadian Constitution nor in any provincial legislation so your statement is out of thin air and reeks of libertarianism. Have a good day. By the way, there are no "environmental lobby" groups involved here, only some concerned citizens, property owners, landowners, farmers and woodlot owners. The only lobby group threatening council represents a very small portion of our citizens in this municipality. The president of the KFA will not speak on this issue but a few ex-presidents seem to have the council's and administration's full attention on this subject AGAINST the wishes of the majority of citizens/voters in this municipality. How's that for democracy? It would seem that the "special interest group" of property right spouting landowners trump the rights of everyone else.

  4. Jim..sadly, I have to say that with our efforts to collect petition names, we are haveing a problem with people stealing and destroying petition sheets in south chatham-kent. Seems odd that this is the very area that all the destruction is going on! I would like to point out to others that have the idea of sabotaging our goal of saving this community….These are "Private Property"!! and we will use the law if caught stealing or destroying these documents!!!

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