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Watch out for tree-cutting developers: Councillor

Feb 4, 2014 3:51:00 PM - thestar.com

A word of advice from Toronto’s tree advocate: blow the whistle if you hear chainsaws firing up at development sites on weekends.

“When trees come down illegally, it’s usually after 5 o’clock on Friday and before 9 a.m. on Monday,” said Councillor Sarah Doucette, council’s tree advocate.

“We need residents to be our ears and our eyes out there to let us know if someone is taking a tree down,” said Doucette (Ward 13, Parkdale-High Park.

She was responding to tree cutting last Saturday on a condo site on Chatsworth Drive in the Yonge St.-Lawrence Ave. area.

A city bylaw prohibits removing healthy mature trees without a permit.

Developer Arsalan Mohajer of Parkset Developments Inc. told the Star the trees posed a danger due to damage from the ice storm a month earlier, but that was rejected by Councillor Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence).

Stintz, who represents the area, said the trees were located in a development site with no public access. If they posed a safety problem, property owners are supposed to get approval from city urban forestry officials to remove them.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly (Ward 40, Scarborough-Agincourt) said a “mini-forest” of trees was razed by a developer in Scarborough about a year ago.

Kelly attended the city hall news conference to stress that city policy is to protect trees because they make a positive aesthetic and environmental contribution to the city’s quality of life.

“There is a system that requires a permit to remove a tree and whether it’s a developer or individual, everyone has to be reminded of the respect and the affection and the importance we place on trees,” he said.

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