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A group of Cornwall residents is concerned that nature is getting in the way of a good view.
In the world of NIMBY (not in my back yard) arguments, this is a strange one. Usually, people want more nature in their area, not less.
Those residents in the affluent Sunrise Cove subdivision attended a town council meeting on Nov. 27 and raised the issue about removing a cluster of spruce trees from a property near the shore. Initially, about 10 young trees were planted but that has grown to about a thousand. The residents are worried that once the trees grow, their view of the water will be blocked.
These days, all the talk on P.E.I. is about doing what’s right for the environment. We were the first province in Canada to adopt a single-use plastic bag ban. And coastal erosion, carbon capture and our current climate crisis are on everyone’s mind.
It’s been pointed out over and over again that we can put pressure on governments to address climate issues. But we have to do our part as well. That involves recycling, car-pooling, or using more environmentally-friendly modes of transportation, to name a few. It doesn’t involve cutting down trees because they’re a nuisance or blocking somebody's view.
Sometimes, we have to set aside our personal preferences and do what is right for the common good. That involves inconveniences, but if we’re serious about doing our part for the environment, then inconveniences are going to happen.
What can’t happen is cutting down trees because they’re an inconvenience.
As Karalee McAskill, co-ordinator with the Cornwall Area Watershed Group said, removing the trees will have long-term ecological effects for wildlife and for the shoreline. The trees will play a role in carbon capture as well as mitigating flooding and erosion. That’s right. The weather on P.E.I. is changing and storms are more frequent. These trees are good for the subdivision. Without them, flooding may give the residents a water view they didn’t ask for. Yes, the trees are trying to help us, so let them.
The Sunrise Cove residents are property owners, and as such, have rights. But they have rights over their own property, not the corridor of trees that they don't own.
For the homeowners in the subdivision, the optics are terrible. With all that is happening with our climate and environment, first-world problems like this stick out like a sore thumb. Cornwall town council has to send the message that the environment takes precedent over the selfish concerns over a cluster of trees. Of course, everyone wants a million-dollar room with a view.
But on P.E.I., the narrative has changed. This is the only Island we have, and we have to protect it.