Update on the Twinkle Tree Christmas Tree Farm

Jim Williams
Jim Williams

You may remember eighty-eight-year-old Jim Williams of Beamsville, Ontario, a WWII veteran and a 60-year member of the Lions Club who had many passions. He loved to fly, he loved photography, he was a great storyteller and he was always ready to help someone in need. He also ran “Twinkle Tree” Christmas tree farm on his 35 acres. Jim ran a-foul of the law when he was told by a Niagara Escarpment Enforcement officer that what he had done for 60 years, working his land, was now illegal and he could not spread dirt without a permit.

Once the enforcement officer entered the home of Jim and Beth Williams ostensibly on a concern over loads of dirt being imported to smooth out flood damage on the William’s tree farm property, the enforcer started picking apart everything he could find even items not related to the importing of dirt.

“He was really bullying us, saying ‘I want the truth’ and asking how long exactly things were here, boom, boom, boom. That’s what we had to deal with,” said Jim. He told Jim that “he was in big trouble” and started demanding all sorts of permits from Jim.

According to Williams, the enforcement officer had an extensive list of complaints during the visit. The officer also questioned the existence of a lumber mill and small boutique operated by Beth Williams. Both have been in operation on the property for several years. He also questioned the presence of a basement apartment, which the Williams said is un-rented and used only for the sake of a second kitchen.

Friends and neighbors were astounded by the tone and tenor of the NEC enforcement officer against an 88-year-old Canadian WWII War Hero who was using common farm practice to make the land safe.

Since the NEC was and is in the business of making sure that nothing and no one could alter the character of the escarpment it puzzled everyone as to why the NEC and their official were so hard on Williams when he wasn’t affecting his land compared to the numerous gravel pits scattered throughout the area.

Unfortunately, Jim was unable to keep his last appointment with the enforcer because he had been admitted to the hospital. Jim passed away before the NEC officer’s visit and his land was sold. Now a proposed subdivision is planned for his land. How’s that for disturbing the dirt on this property!

Kindly reprinted with the permission of the Landowner Magazine. Photo credit to Preston Haskell.