Couple, Village at odds over tree removal

Kathy and Don Choiniere are unhappy with a beautification project at the entrance to Cumberland

A Cumberland couple is unhappy with a beautification project that is going to cost them thousands of dollars for tree removal. Village administration, however, says it has followed the proper democratic process.

Kathy and Don Choiniere own JK Industrial Machinery Rentals on Cumberland Road near the entrance to the village. Years ago, they had put up trees in front of their business. When they came to work on Wednesday morning, crews were removing trees in front of neighboring businesses lining the road. Donald decided to block the workers, who phoned police for assistance. An officer attended the scene, and the trees were removed.

“We met with the development fees way back when we built the property, then some mayor decided it would be nice to have trees put in as you enter (the village),” Kathy said. “They’re going to redo what we’ve done but make it nicer, on the business’s bill. That will be the third time we’ve paid for it.”

The couple is seeking legal advice.

“We’ve got to fight this, because we’re going to be paying again,” Kathy said.

Village CAO Sundance Topham said most properties are in favour of a Local Area Service that was created for landscape improvements at the village entrance.

“Unfortunately, they (Choinieres) are not in favour of it moving forward,” he said. “The beautification involves removing older trees and putting new landscaping in place.”

Topham said JK Industrial will need to pay about $30,000 over five years.

“If I were to pay that kind of bill, there’s no point for businesses to come here, or to be here, because you can’t afford that kind of management,” Don said. “These people have no sense of reality.”

Don feels he and Kathy should be credited for the trees that were removed.

“We’ve been trying to work towards a solution with them,” Topham said. “I think we’re close to it, but in general they’re not in favour of the works.

“It’s (landscaping) going to look good,” Topham added. “It’s going to improve the whole area. It went through the proper democratic process of making sure that everyone who needed to agree to it, did. They’re just opposed to it.”

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