Letter to the editor 1, May 14, 2015

Dear Editor,

It is with shock and dismay that I have come to understand that the St. Lazare city council has decided without my, or many of my neighbors’, input to abolish our twice-yearly leaf and pine needle pickup... huh? I moved to St. Lazare July 1, 2012, with then interim Mayor Robert Grimaudo. Not yet a ‘true’ resident, I was unable to vote when the election came several months later but was happy with him as it seemed he had a ‘green’ philosophy. I had left Beaconsfield after more than 20 years because slowly all the trees were being cut down and room was being made for large houses with small families who needed enormous driveways and pools, etc.

I loved Saddlebrook instantly. Although not a very large property, I manage to gather almost 80 well-filled paper bags in the fall and almost 20 again this spring. I fill at least 10 bags with pine cones alone! A few weeks ago, even before the snow was gone, people were out raking and bagging and placing them at the end of their driveways. Monkey see, monkey do so I commenced. Wanting to not have the bags disintegrate in the rain I tried to check for the pickup date. Not finding it in our community booklet, I called the town hall. I was informed that the spring pickup had been abolished. Scrambling, I called a friend who graciously came to pick up my bags.

Now I hear that this fall will be the last pickup. What are my options? I have over 300 trees on my property. Shall I put in a pool, a very big one just so I can cut down trees and therefore reduce my leaf litter load? A fence around it could take out a few more....add an extension? Just collect the stuff and every week fill up the corners of my garbage can? I cannot get a mulcher in and around my property.

Besides, with this amount, in ten years I won’t need stairs to get to my front door. Buy a supersonic leaf blower to get it to unclaimed chunks of land, one where the owner needs to wear protective ear-wear and keeps the neighbours inside for the day? Bring it to friends and family in other towns like I did with my trash two years ago when suddenly garbage collection was reduced to bi-monthly? I cannot afford the yard work fees, besides I like the exercise and fresh air. So should I then cart it off to the small plots of `forest’ like some of my neighbours do?

The leaf litter being several feet thick rots the tree trunks and the trees are falling over. Good if you live close. Should I stop doing lawn care? So, now, what are my options? I’m glad for a reasonably balanced budget. But if my mayor and representatives get a raise and therefore it means I lose reasonable services, I have to say foul.

Elianna Beckman

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