Land rezoning protects tree cover habitat

A piece of land brought before Ponoka County council for rezoning was given the go-ahead

A piece of land brought before Ponoka County council for rezoning was given the go-ahead, as the land owner expressed his fervor for protecting the large amount of trees growing there.

The 80-acre parcel is being rezoned from agricultural to country residential hobby farm with the intent to subdivide three parcels and create a watershed protection for one of them.

“The primary purpose for the rezoning is to protect the trees . . . It’s a pretty important wildlife habitat,” said landowner David Mickalson. “It’s a pretty important piece.”

He informed council that owls, hawks, deer and coyotes depend on the trees.

For the rest of the land a healthy, 100-foot well is in use and the land has working services.

Mickalson’s neighbor to the east also attended the public hearing out of concern for the trees’ safety. He felt, with so many acreages and subdivisions popping up in the area that the trees were at risk of being taken down.

County CAO Charlie says the better way to protect the tree cover is through subdivisions because developers and landowners can put an environmental easement on the area. However, if the trees are left to agricultural land, it is the farmers’ right to clear them at any time they want.