Developer destroys trees without permit


Published:

Karen Stintz at 41 Chatsworth Rd.

Charles Oliver had taken to looking out the window. Like many people in his Lawrence Park neighbourhood, he was wary of a new condominium complex being built at 41 Chatsworth Rd., backing onto the Chatsworth ravine. But despite his reservations he was not prepared for what happened on the morning of Feb. 1.

“It was about 8:05 a.m. when I heard the cracking sound,” he said. “And I knew they were taking down large, mature trees."

Sensing that “something illegal was being done,” Oliver called 311, the City of Toronto’s information line. When he told the operator that trees were being taken down by developers, Oliver was told that someone from the city would be there in five days. Meanwhile, some of his neighbours came outside to challenge the developers on the tree removal, and one Chatsworth resident knocked on the door of city councillor Karen Stintz, who lives nearby the development. Oliver said she immediately came running down the street to faceoff with developer.

“I knew they didn’t have a permit,” said Stintz. “The developer claimed that the trees were a hazard, but they would have still had to apply for a permit.”

“I think they were getting rid of evidence, so they could say they were damaged.”

After Coun. Stintz demanded they show a permit or shut down their equipment, the developers stopped cutting down trees. About half an hour later, Oliver said that the construction workers started their machinery to cut up the trees that had already been cut down.

“I think they were getting rid of the evidence, so developers would say the trees were damaged,” Oliver said. He and his neighbours, as well as Coun. Stintz, stood in front of the machines, so they could not remove the stumps from the ground. The evidence, he said, will be crucial to taking legal action against the developer, which he says he and his neighbours are “looking into.”

“I’m no tree hugger,” says Oliver. “But the city put in plans to regulate what developer can do, and those rules need to be followed.”

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