Residents fighting to save eight mature silver maples threatened by a large-scale condo development on the grounds of North Toronto Collegiate say the trees could easily be saved.
But the developer, Tridel , isn't willing at this point to move the planned parking garage over which the 100-year-old stand now rises.
It's a miracle trees still make it to maturity in Toronto, say tree advocates. All too often they're chopped down to make way for development. The city, says LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) executive director Janet McKay
, is doing too little to protect them.
In California, developers are rewarded with extra density for saving trees. In Europe, they build around trees.
Here, it's been standard practice for developers to chop down troublesome trees on Friday, when they know city inspectors can't get out until Monday, after all the evidence has been removed.
Some, however, have gone to extraordinary lengths to save our canopy. Several mature trees have been uprooted and replanted to make room for development on the site of the old Salvation Army training centre at Bayview and Lawrence.
In the case of the silver maples, urban forestry planner Gary LeBlanc says the city "didn't know how many years they had left in them, and we have a replanting plan, so let's get started on that."
Chris Sellors, executive assistant to area councillor Michael Walker , says it's difficult to keep track of mature trees when developers aren't even including them in their diagrams when they apply for building permits.
At the North Toronto site, Tridel says it plans to replant 73 trees, including oaks, lindens, red sunset maples and ornamental trees and shrubs. Its plans for the school include a green roof.
As for the maples, they'll be turned into furniture.
Says Tridel development manager Leona Savoie , "We're actually recycling what we're taking down. Where we can save trees, we try to, but there are always those costs-versus-benefits evaluations we have to go through."