Regent Park redevelopment, tree-cutting in phase 1, Dundas and Sherbourne
What's going on with the hundreds of trees coming down in Regent Park? Some locals have been alarmed by the scale of cutting of the canopy in the neighbourhood as the first phase of Regent Park redevelopment got underway a couple of weeks ago.
Turns out more than 1,400 trees will be uprooted to make room for the development, about 600 of them mature trees (with trunks greater than 30 centimetres in diameter) that are supposed to be protected by the city's tree bylaw.
Could have been worse. A city arborist ordered the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), which is overseeing the redevelopment, to save 40 matures trees originally slated for cutting.
But there's no guarantee some of those won't have to come down, too, if they're damaged over the 12 to 15 years it will take to redevelop the site.
According to TCHC CEO Derek Ballantyne, a good number of the trees to be removed were diseased or in poor condition, or what a March 2005 city report termed "undesirable invasive species."
He says the main reason trees have to be cut is to make room for streets, which are being reintegrated into the city grid to make the area feel safer and less isolated.
"We did preserve as many trees as we can while respecting the idea of putting in streets," he says.
TCHC plans to have 1,56o new trees planted in Regent Park as part of the redevelopment, using a state-of-the-art irrigation system that allows for greater collection and storage of stormwater.
What kind of canopy residents end up with remains to be seen. In phase 1, the densities being proposed will require trees that can "tolerate moderate levels of sun and limited space." No parkland is planned for phase 1 of the project.
Could more have been done to save mature trees?
The housing corporation has made efforts in the past to replant trees removed from development sites. In September 04, TCHC transplanted 29 trees from Don Mount Court to Dundas Junior Public School, Corvette Junior Public School and John A. Leslie Public School.