Tree-protection fencing baffles residents: ‘I cringe looking at the site’

Tree-protection fencing baffles residents: ‘I cringe looking at the site’

Protecting trees from the ravages of construction is a fine idea, but there’s a point when it becomes pointless.

Trees contribute a lot more than they take from this ol’ world. They provide an abundance of oxygen and their leafy canopies offer shade from a sun that gets hotter every year, thanks to climate change.

So it’s important to shield trees from things that could kill them, including road work, home rebuilds and other construction undertaken by people who are often oblivious to anything but the bottom line.

It’s why the city has extensive rules requiring construction contractors to erect fencing around trees, to make sure they’re not injured or don’t die because their roots have been gouged by a front-end loader.

But when the fencing remains long after the work is done — if it ever happened at all — people start to wonder why they didn’t take it down long before now.

Egon Ehrkamp emailed about two tree protection zones that were put up long ago on the north side of Ellesmere Road, just west of Bellamy Road, along with a photo that shows them falling apart.

“This fencing was erected just after the resurfacing of Ellesmere was completed, therefore I assumed that there was some construction planned and the trees needed to be protected,” he said.

“That was almost three years ago and no construction has ever taken place. The plastic (fencing) is getting so old that it is starting to disintegrate and loosen off the supports, ripping in places.

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“Most of the time it is used as a refuse receptacle. I walk by there almost every day and cringe looking at the site.”

I went there and found that the wooden frames surrounding the trees were falling apart, while the orange fencing was peeling away. The area inside the fence was filled with street trash.

A Google Street View image from September of 2017 doesn’t show the tree protection zones, but they’re in the most recent image, shot one year ago. So they haven’t been there for three years, but quite likely for upwards of two.

Even if there was a project that required the trees to be barricaded, there’s no reason why the barricades should still be there, other than to collect trash.

Status: Eric Holmes, who deals with media for transportation services, sent a note saying they’re looking into the situation and will make sure the protection zones are dismantled, if they’re no longer needed.

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What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. Email jlakey@thestar.ca or follow @TOStarFixer on Twitter.

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