The president of the Lambton Federation of Agriculture says farmers shouldn’t require a permit to take care of their woodlots.
Ron MacDougall recently told Lambton County Councilors the LFA has some concerns about the controversial changes to the woodlot bylaw. County staff presented changes to local farmers last year causing an uproar. The county’s only remaining sawmill said at the time that some of the restrictions could put them out of business.
So the county formed a group including woodlot owners to look at what changes should be made.
The revised changes are expected to be presented to county councilors in a couple of months, but Ron MacDougall says the LFA has some concerns already.
The biggest is need for farmers to obtain permits for working in the woodlot. “The LFA believes a landowner should not require a permit to conduct good woodlot management on their farms,” he says adding farmers will occasionally go into the woodlot to remove dead trees and brush.
The farm organization is also concerned farmers would have to apply for permits to make repairs to drainage running through the woodlots. “These drains do require maintenance occasionally…we question the need for approval of minor repairs. It adds cost and delays repairs.”
MacDougall is also concerned that county officials might go into woodlots without asking a farmer. “LFA wants the bylaw officer to make personal contact with landowner before entering a property,” says MacDougall. “There could be an issue of safety or liability.”
The new proposal is expected to come back to county councilors in November.
– Heather Wright