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County residents lament possible tree loss

County says removal necessary
MVT trees didsbury kershaw
Glen and Annette Kershaw stand on Twp. Rd. 314 in Mountain View County. The Kershaws are upset that Mountain View County staff are looking at removing many of the trees lining the road. Craig Lindsay/MVP Staff

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Glen Kershaw, who has lived in the same spot for all his 80 years, is taking on Mountain View County over what he says would be unnecessary removal of trees on Twp Rd. 314 about two kilometers west of Didsbury.

Kershaw said the trees, which are in the road allowance, have been along that stretch of road for as long as he can remember.

"Back in 2009 we had a go with them when they wanted to take them out," said Kershaw. "We had a petition. Now the other day they started up and were going to take them out again."

Kershaw said his cows feed near the road, which his property is adjacent to.

"The trees keep the wind from blowing where I usually feed my cows," he said. "They're trying to say they can't move the snow back. But when they cut the trees off they leave a spot and it drifts way worse."

Kershaw said he has talked to his local county councillor, Duncan Milne, and is awaiting a meeting with the county to discuss the issue further.

"We're supposed to have a meeting with them," he said.

"We were told by the county that they were for sure going to take out a significant number of these trees," said Kershaw's wife Annette. "From the markings it looks like it will go right to our fence line. So it'll be the majority of the trees on both sides of the road."

Annette said the reason the county gave to remove the trees was for road maintenance.

"Their idea is that they need to build a trench on each side for drainage, which is what the trees are doing right now," she said. "I don't know for sure why they need to take that many trees out."

Annette said that many people also come out and take photography at the road or walk their dogs.

"It's a gorgeous road no matter what season it is," she said.

Ryan Morrison, director of operational services for Mountain View County, said that the county has a policy to do road side brush control.

"We're executing that policy to do brushing along that right of way," said Morrison. "We've had trouble in the past with snow drifting in there. The road is treed on both sides and it just fills up with snow. With the trees being right up to the shoulder of the road we have nowhere to push the snow."

Morrison said it's a maintenance issue for the county. He added that there are a few other issues as well.

"There are other things, like we'd like to increase the drainage in there," he said. "With the trees being gone, do some ditching. Just general maintenance that we can't do with the trees there."

Morrison said that he agrees that trees can provide a wind break and can be aesthetically pleasing but in this instance the negatives outweigh the positives.

"We have a lot of miles or road in this county and there are lots of trees in ditches we don't log out," he said. "They're working fine with us and we're working fine with them. We just leave them. But in this situation they're right up to the shoulder of the road. You couldn't pass large agriculture equipment down this road because it's so overgrown."

Morrison said they plan to clear the trees to within 25 feet of the centre of the road.

"The road is down the middle so we're looking at clearing about eight feet of trees on either side of the road," he said. "We need to get the work done in the winter, it's not really summer work. We do have to engage the landowners out there one more time. Our CAO has requested us (to) do that."

Morrison said the county has met with the Kershaws at least twice and are looking at meeting a third time.

"We're trying to facilitate another meeting with them to see if there is any middle ground we can meet them on," he said. "After that we're proposing starting the work."

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