MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY – Council is scheduled to make a decision at the Nov. 30 council meeting regarding a proposed tree clearing project on Twp. Rd. 314 between Rge. Rd. 22 and Rge. Rd. 23 west of Didsbury.
Supporters and opponents of the proposed tree removal appeared as delegations before council at the Nov. 16 meeting.
The tree removal project is proposed as part of the 2023 budget.
“Council wanted to provide the directly affected landowners and residents an opportunity to have input,” said Jeff Holmes, chief administrative officer.
The project sheet for the proposal states that two farmers who own land and/or farm along Twp. Rd. 314 had requested that the trees be removed. They said removing the trees would provide better access for emergency services along the road during winter months.
As well, they said the movement of large agriculture equipment such as air seeders is difficult along the road because the trees make the passage too narrow, in some cases causing damage to equipment.
They also said the trees reduce sightlines, creating a traffic hazard for vehicles meeting each other on the roadway.
Barry Reese, with Reese Agri Holdings, called for the trees to be removed.
“I made the request to have the trees removed,” Reese told council. “The road is just too tight (for equipment). We own two properties that are on that township road that we need to get access to and we have no other access into those fields.
He expressed safety concerns about the road.
“One being that when we do pull machinery down there that we may pull a tree down onto our equipment or on ourselves.”
He said he also has a concern that the trees obstruct the view of drivers trying to come off the township road.
Adjacent landowners Glen and Annette Kershaw spoke in opposition to the proposed tree removal.
They cited a number of reasons for their opposition, including that the removal of the trees will result in the loss of scenic beauty and habitat for birds, the loss of shelter and wind break, and that it would negatively impact water and soil quality.
Annette Kershaw told council, “We oppose the removal of the trees on this road and we do not expect the county to spend any money or any time on this road, just to maintain it as any other road. We have no issue with this road (as is).”
The complete project sheet and written submissions regarding the proposed project can be found on the county’s website.
Council passed a motion to defer a decision on the tree clearing request to Nov. 30.