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Action alert: Clear cutting in Gatineau Park starts Monday

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Action alert: Clear cutting in Gatineau Park starts Monday!

The Wakefield Spring and majestic old growth white pines of Gatineau Park need your urgent help!

Residents of Wakefield are continuing to fight the extension of Highway 5 between Chelsea and Wakefield which threaten old growth pine trees and the Valley Drive (Wakefield) Spring. The cutting of trees in Gatineau Park will begin on Monday. A5X, a group who is now leading this fight, was asked to remove all decorations by noon on Thursday. We need your help to save these trees and the Wakefield Spring!

The group and supporters will return to the park on Monday at 10 a.m. when cutting is scheduled to start. Some members of the group will sit up in some of the largest white pines to block the cutting. At the beginning of January, the group set up a camp in the forest off Brown Lake Road, just south of Wakefield.

If we can delay the cutting by even just a few months, we may be able to buy more time to stop the project. The cutting has to stop in early spring so that the trees are not cut when baby birds are in nests.

Over 3,000 people depend on the spring for their drinking water needs year round, while another 2,000 people use the spring seasonally. The West Quebec Post reported that "A federal assessment [which approved the extension] acknowledged [that no one knows the exact source of all the spring water ... ] The 1986 Quebec consultation did not look at hydrology." CBC has also reported, "Transport Canada performed a preliminary assessment and determined that the project -- which would involve lopping off a nearby hilltop -- could contaminate the aquifer." It is unclear how much water some residents will get from the new wells that are to replace a communal well in the path of the construction.

Community members are not opposed to an extension in principle. However, they are demanding a better environmental assessment and an altered plan that would save the old growth trees and the Wakefield Spring.

What you can do:

* Show your support to the tree-sitters on Monday! The location of where the cutting will begin remains unknown. Please check the AX5 website or Facebook page on Sunday evening for the exact location. The protest will begin at 10 a.m. so be ready to come out and let the Quebec government know you don't want the trees to be cut!

* Contact Jean Charest's office -- A sample French and English can be viewed at: http://www.a5x.org/do-something-faites-quelque-chose.html

- Fax:418 643-3924 and/or 514 873-6769
- Email via the website: www.premier-ministre.gouv.qc.ca/premier-ministre/joindre-pm/courriel.asp
- Tel: 418 643-5321 or 514 873-3411

* Learn more! Visit www.a5x.org to learn more about the issue.


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