By Daniel Buckles, Ottawa Citizen Op-Ed, April 24, 2023
Recently, Ottawa Council had an opportunity to hold accountable the parties in the Tewin tree-cutting debacle, including the city bureaucracy. By directing staff to seek guidance from the province and the provincial Normal Farm Practices Protection Board, council explicitly acknowledged that city staff members may have made a mistake in their interpretation of the Farming and Food Production Protection Act (FFPP Act).
Staff granted the Taggart Group of Companies and the real-estate arm of the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) an agricultural exemption to the municipal Tree Protection Bylaw after they hired a logging firm to remove at least 25,000 trees on a 70-hectare property in Carlsbad Springs. The controversy has further tarnished the image of the two developers involved because, in the words of Coun. Riley Brockington, their shifting explanation “does not pass the smell test.”