by Benoit Bleau, translation Sheila Lord (April 2016)
In 2005 when my wife and I drove all around this area in search of a new environment in which to bring up our children and to grow vegetables, it was the abundance of trees everywhere which captivated us. We were looking for a place within an hour’s drive of Montreal offering a different landscape than that of endless fields of corn or soya.
We visited one farm in Havelock which would have entailed too much physical work, then a second one in Hemmingford which we purchased : 60 acres, 40 of which were forested and 20 consisted of grassland, orchards, etc., and the best water I had ever tasted!
What particularly pleased us about Hemmingford was its unique multicultural community. People whose ancestors go back many years mixing with others originating from all parts of the world. We quickly felt at home and became involved in several local organisations, such as the Environment Committee, Cantata Choir, the St. Romain School Council, Info Hemmingford, Parish of St. Romain, Hemmingford Archives, Roxham Woolgathering, etc. It was a good way to meet people and create lasting bonds. When one has no roots in a place, one must create them !
At the same time we became conscious of the fragility of our environment. Nature can easily be damaged and it must be protected. We have communicated this concern to our children by cultivating fruits and vegetables organically and by using methods such as composting, green fertilizers, and windbreaks for nourishing and protecting the soil.
In January 2014 I heard from a friend about some clear-cutting that was going on in the township. With other members of the Environment Committee we discussed what could be done to avoid any further destruction. After several meetings with forestry specialists we contacted the mayor of Hemmingford Township to inform him of our concerns and assure him of our support in formulating regulations dealing with forest activities in our area.
At its meeting of 6 October 2014 the Township Council adopted Regulations numbers 278-2 and 275-15. These new regulations are not intended to prohibit the cutting down of trees but to ensure that forest operations respect certain criteria, already in force at other government levels, by consulting specialists when necessary: agronomists, forestry engineers, local inspectors, who can guide the owner of a forested area in his plan.
Since the wealth of the Hemmingford area is closely related to our forest-covered countryside, let’s be proud of it and aim to protect our wooded areas and use them in a lasting and respectful way. As a wise American Indian once said: “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we loan it to our children”.
Please visit the new website of the municipality to discover these regulations at www.hemmingford.ca/canton/ Click on “Administration” and go to sub-section “réglementation” and then to “regulations”. You can download the two regulations numbers 278-2 and 275-15 dealing with the cutting down of trees . Wishing you interesting reading!