Trees need to be sheltered from the rough-and-tumble of construction, but the protection can be taken too far.
To protect Toronto’s inventory of trees, which will soon be coming to leaf, the city has tough rules requiring they be fenced off from any construction in the immediate area.
That’s what happened when work began on a townhouse development on Vince Ave., near Dundas and Coxwell Aves., back in 2012. Trees along Edgewood Ave., north and south of Vince, were surrounded by fencing.
But five years later the protection zones are still in place, apparently because a few units at the east end of the project were never finished and abandoned.
Karen Manzerolle described it as “a minor but frustrating annoyance” in an email, saying there’s been no construction for at least two years and that the tree protection zones have become an eyesore.
“We lived through the construction noise, dust etc. without any significant complaints,” she said, but part of the project came to a halt several years ago and one of the developers filed for bankruptcy.
Fencing surrounding two trees on the boulevard south of Vince has since “started to fall down and the protected area is being used as a dump site for small items,” Manzerolle said.
“As it is impossible to contact the builder to ask them to take down the fences, I called 311 last summer to see if they could arrange removal. I was told it was the responsibility of the builder.
“I spoke to someone from (urban forestry) but he claimed he has no authority to remove them either.”
We went there and found that the fencing south of Vince had collapsed at one end and was filled with coffee cups, street trash and large piles of tree clippings that look to be illegally dumped.
The top of the plastic fencing that overhangs the sidewalk is bristling with razor-sharp edges that could slash the arm of a pedestrian — or the face of a small child — now that shirt-sleeve weather is almost here.
Status: We’ve asked the city’s right-of-way management, which is responsible for bylaw enforcement on roads, sidewalks and boulevards, if it can arrange to have the fencing removed.
What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. Send an email to email@example.com . Report problems and follow us on Twitter @TOStarFixer.