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November 02, 2007


Jack Hauseman

JOAN - 3 members of Council knew nothing about the tree-cutting - Jamie and Marlene Johnston acted on their own - our senior staff were contacted with the request, and said NO - the 2 decided to proceed anyway, grabbed a few members of our works department anyway, and ordered them to assist in chopping down the trees - Johnston edited the Town's response you received and had it sent under the name of a Town Employee who wasn't aware of the infraction without informing our Senior Staff or 3 Members of Council - major breaches here and implications - Councillor's Morton, Hackson and Hauseman have asked for a special Council Meeting next Monday at noon to discuss the entire issue and deternime a proper course of action - the ultimate goal will be to act swiftly to address the concerns of the Temple Board, and re-establish the good working relationship we had prior to this fiasco, and decide on a proper course of action to make sure this never happens again - Regards, COUNCILLOR JACK HAUSEMAN

Jack Hauseman

JUST SOME OTHER THOUGHTS - This year, Council and Staff had discussed the cleanup of the area between our driveway and the Temperence Hall parking lot - this area is owned by the Town, and it's an unsightly mess with brush and the usual infamous Manitoba Maples LOL - it was staff's intention to have a proper evaluation of what was there done once the leaves had fallen, and then determine whether they had the expertise to clear the area, or whether the Town should hire a qualified contractor to do it - this likely would have happened next spring - part of the process would have been to have a plan in place to plant something better once any stumps had been removed - the evaluation of what's there was considered necessary by Council as we are a public body and want whatever we do to be done right, and conform to the laws of the land (ie. the Region of York Tree Cutting By-Law) - at that time we had planned to consult with the Sharon Temple Museum Society Board to see if they wanted any trees cut down and replaced on their adjoining property - as you are aware, although they own the Sharon Temple property, they are governed by 2 easements registered on title stating that no major alterations to the site should take place without waivers - these 2 easements are held by Parks Canada and the Ontario Heritage Trust - the Temple is a National Historic Site so these easements are not uncommon.
Mayor Young and Councillor Johnston were fully aware of these easements when they decided to march in and direct not only our property to be cleared, but the Sharon Temple property - the curator of the Temple, upon seeing the Mayor in full Chainsaw garb, did identify approx. 6 trees that could be cut down on Temple Property by painting red marks on them - when he returned a few days later (the site is closed by this time of year), not only had the six been cut down, but at least another 25 more - and for the record, the Temple say that several 20 foot pine trees were cut down, not just brush and Manitoba Maples - one has to ask why any Mayor would be out there dressed in full Chainsaw Garb, accompanied by a Councillor cutting down trees just because the proper process might take a while longer before the view was improved - by taking the situation into their own hands, not informing Council of their desire to do so, not sharing the response to you, proceeding when our professional staff told them not to do so, ordering works personnel to assist them in the job against the wishes of management and not informing management, they've opened themselves to breaches of the 2 easements, possible Health and Safety Board violations, possible charges and fines, coverups, suits, and stained our Town's reputation of being a Canadian Leader on many Environmental Initiatives - both our staff and the 3 remaining members of Council are very disappointed and frankly are sitting at the moment in disbelief that anybody could be so stupid and irresponsible - and from the feedback we've already received from the Globe and Mail article, our taxpayers are saying that any costs related to this incident should not ultimately be paid by their tax dollars, but rather by the 2 individuals themselves - so recovering costs must be part of our discussion as well - as mentioned before, we are now doing our best to address the concerns of the Temple Board - we've secured their site with proper temporary fencing, and we'll be meeting with them to address all their other concerns as quickly and responsibly as possible - hope my typical longwinded responses have at least explained the situation better! WHAT A MESS - Regards, COUNCILLOR JACK HAUSEMAN

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Joan Ransberry


Veteran reporter Joan Ransberry has seen and heard it all in the many years of covering municipal, regional, provincial and federal politics. Not afraid to blow the whistle, poke fun or venture where others won't go, her blog takes a peek at the human, the stupid and goofy side of government.


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