tree destruction on Carden St

Today I witnessed the removal of all the trees lining Carden St from Woolwich to McDonnell. In the last two days all of these trees have been removed by a sub contractor in order to facilitate the construction of our transit hub. The saddest part was watching the last oak tree that we attempted to protect by chaining bicycles to it, be systematically trimmed and then chainsawed into foot long lengths. Sawdust, acorns and fallen leaves are all that remain.
The question on my mind was did anyone try to protect these trees? The trees on the south side in front of the train station spent 20 to 30 years of growing determinedly in our downtown core. Was there anyone within the framework of the project who advocated for their preservation in spite of the work being done for the hub? The contractor indicated that he felt the trees growing along Carden on the north side were non native, poorly growing trees that could easily be replaced. Maybe this is so, but where is the information that this was considered? There are no postings to indicate someone has signed off and that alternatives were given serious consideration but the removal of the trees was the only reasonable solution.
Mayor Farbridge in your reply to a query of mine regarding the tree bylaw you said, ” I think you will agree that this Council has made the expansion of our tree coverage, density and variety a community development priority”. The SUFMP states it applies to “Individual trees growing along roadsides, in residential and school yards, and on commercial, institutional or industrial properties” If the priorities are as you indicated, then the actions today are not in line with this. The oak trees were on either CN or city land and were some of the few well developed trees existing in our downtown commercial core. It would seem if this Council was truly making urban tree canopy a priority, there would be some transparent process and communication that would indicate to the public that the execution carried out today was the only alternative possible. Council can’t expect citizens to exhibit a greater degree of commitment to the principles of urban forest preservation than the city expects in its own projects.
I am sure that landscaping the area and planting trees will be part of the finishing of this project. But, in my lifetime I will not see trees of the age and quality of the ones cut down yesterday and today. They were well on the way to providing shade and cooling along Carden Street and it will be another 20 years before new ones match that. The higher probability is that the patrons of the bar across the street will continue to make the lives of any small replanted trees difficult and our predicted climate warming will challenge their growth.
I would like to know, what process was employed in this project to consider the trees growing on Carden and McDonnell and who is responsible for making the decisions regarding their retention or demise. Now that it is too late to save any of these trees, is their loss being recorded in the inventory referred to in the SUFMP so that the replacement trees will be chosen appropriately to continue the diversity of the forest canopy? SR



Filed under Environment, On the Buses

6 responses to “tree destruction on Carden St

  1. Ken Spira

    This is not the first time or will it be the last time that the city has jumped the gun as they think they know what is best for all of us. Perhaps more people should have made it out to vote?

  2. John

    When I go to the polls, I go to vote for leaders, not followers.

  3. Laura Murr

    The complete logging of the trees on Carden Street is just another example of how the far down the protection and care of our city trees is on the priority list of city staff who wrote the by law and the councilors and Mayor Farbridge who voted for our new inadequate tree by law. I believe that you, Councillor Findlay, voted for this by law which excludes from protection about 90% of the properties in the city and also the city street trees.
    I note that the picture featured on your Ward 2 Blog is of a logged tree – (note the fluorescent paint on the felled trunk) Surely there are better views of your ward that you could have posted? Perhaps you should be posting more pictures of all the trees being logged in your Ward so that people can see for themselves how much mature tree canopy we are

  4. Bill Hulet


    With all due respect, I walked by those trees for years. The ones next to the Palace were in really bad shape. The oaks next to the railway were in much better shape, but the integrated transit hub is a much needed addition to the infrastructure that is going to make the city much more environmentally friendly.

    The thing about trees is that you can always go out and plant some more. I know that I’ve planted a huge number on my tiny little property. Instead of freaking out on the city, I can’t help but think that it would make a lot more sense for outraged citizens to be encouraging their neighbours to plant more trees. I’m surrounded by homes that have desolate yards covered with scraggly grass. This is where the urban forest should be.

    If they hadn’t cut down those trees they would have died anyway because the excavation for the pipes would have destroyed their roots.

    I simply cannot understand why people put so much energy into such a peripheral issue yet stand by why the planet is being destroyed—-.

  5. Laura Murr

    Yes Bill you are right in one respect.You can always plant more trees but whether they will grow or not and obtain a mature canopy is another matter that remains to be seen until we see the type of replacement tree and how big it is.
    The protection of trees in our city is not a perpheral issue. The logging of trees on Carden street is just one example of the many trees that are being logged in the city. Little trees do not provide the same benefits as mature trees. Also the health of the trees on Carden Street may be directly linked to the quality of care they received from the city during the 20- 30 years before they were cut. How often were they pruned, fertilized and watered?
    Your statement “the thing is we can we can always go out and plant more” sounds remarkably similiar to the loggers who are busy destroying forests and trees all over the planet including Canada. It is betteer to protect your mature trees as recent studies have shown that trees are growing more slowly and are now taking longer to reach maturity. That is if they survive.
    Here in Guelph we needed the oxygen those trees produced. Whatever they plant to replace them will not replace the oxygen and other benefits of those logged trees for many years in the future. Check out any aerial of the downtown and you will see that the downtown appears like a grey island surrounded by the greener residential areas. Maybe these areas will not be greener for long though as the city is cutting the mature trees in these areas too. Very large mature trees were just cut along Liverpool street recently. Then there is the virtual clearcut along Stone Rd. for the bike lanes. What few trees the city said they would protect have had a major portion their roots cut and I doubt that they will survive. If you go out and look at how trees are treated during construction activities you will know why people are angry when another healthy tree is lost.

  6. Don Rusk

    It would be great to maintain all the old trees but it’s not always practical. Younger trees in a location where they can fluorish provide a greater net benefit in the long run. Plant trees along the river where the roots aren’t threatened by pipe construction. Plant something in the mini park on Northumberland. Make a green space beside the bridge on the W.C.Woods parking lot. Plant on the old Bishop Mac property. Plant more trees on the North side of Waterloo Avenue west of Gordon. There is a huge empty waste space in the old Paisley gravel pit. We should be actively indentifying existing treeless spaces where trees will grow well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s