Residents celebrate Stillwater decision

Stand of second-growth trees will not be logged by Island Timberlands

Stillwater residents are celebrating a small victory after Island Timberlands decided to save a grove of second-growth trees on Roberts Road.

After several local residents called the forestry company to share concerns about the grove being cut, the company has changed its plans, according to Makenzie Leine, community relations for Island Timberlands

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“We received some feedback from the community, so we made some alterations to our plans that balanced community concerns with managing our forest,” said Leine.

Part of the grove is located on Island Timberlands’ private managed forest land, so when the community learned the company was planning to log in the area, a number of residents contacted the company with their concerns.

Stillwater resident Ron Smid, a Canadian landscape photographer who moved from Ontario several years ago, said he thinks Island Timberlands changed its plans after receiving so much feedback from the community. He added that not only did the company change plans, representatives also came to the site to meet the neighbours and see firsthand what was being saved.

“The grove is unique in the way that the road meanders through it,” said Smid. “If they had cut those trees, the integrity of the grove would be gone.”

Leine said Island Timberlands is interested in working toward positive engagement with its neighbours and this was an opportunity to do so.

“It’s actually a unique opportunity to have a forested environment within a community,” said Leine.

Smid said the grove, which he and his neighbours refer to as Century Grove, is reminiscent of Vancouver Island’s Cathedral Grove, and one of the reasons he decided to live in Stillwater. Despite not being old growth, the trees are quite beautiful, said Smid.

“Over the years, as I’ve talked to residents and neighbours, I’ve learned that people were feeling the same way about those trees,” he said.

The change of plans will mean a 100-metre by 100-metre buffer from Roberts Roads will be established, said Smid.

Another resident, Lyla Smith, said that while she is happy some of the trees are being saved, she estimated the buffer is only one per cent of the trees that have been cut recently on the peninsula.

“It’s great for us on Roberts Road,” said Smith. “It’s lovely that we were all able to communicate and work on a plan. Maybe it’s a harbinger of change that the company will consider local wishes in future, too.”

Smid said the grove will act as a legacy reminder of the people who lived in the area 100 years ago.

“That grove,” he said, “will only increase in beauty over the years.”

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