Yel­low rib­bons high­light lo­cal fight

Lawrence Park aims to save the trees; side­walks still con­tentious

Bayview Post - - News -

On streets like Milden­hall Road and Dawlish Av­enue, yel­low rib­bons tied around the trunks of old trees serve as a stark re­minder to res­i­dents that the park­like feel of Lawrence Park is cur­rently at risk.

In 2013, the City of Toronto be­gan plan­ning an over­haul of the area’s sewer sys­tem to mit­i­gate storm wa­ter and base­ment flood­ing, forc­ing city staff to come up with a de­sign to re­con­struct 26 lo­cal streets. More than 100 trees stand to be af­fected by the cur­rent con­struc­tion plan, with side­walks pro­posed for five streets in an area that has gone with­out them for more than 100 years.

The lo­cal res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion has en­deav­oured to con­vince the city to spare more of the neigh­bour­hood’s tree canopy. The Lawrence Park Ratepay­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (LPRA) had com­mis­sioned an ar­borist re­port and a door-to-door sur­vey by Fo­rum Re­search Inc. late last year. Ac­cord­ing to Phillip Craw­ley, LPRA mem­ber and pub­lisher and CEO of the Globe and Mail, Fo­rum Re­search polled 500 house­holds on the east side of Lawrence Park in Septem­ber 2016 and found only 32 per cent sup­ported the pro­posed plan. The find­ings were pre­sented to city staff in Novem­ber.

“The way the city pre­sented it was there was a risk that any­thing be­tween 78 and 251 trees could be af­fected by the work that was be­ing pro­posed,” said Craw­ley. “And a clear ma­jor­ity of our re­spon­dents said, ‘No, that’s not ac­cept­able.’ ”

The poll also ad­dressed ques­tions per­tain­ing to side­walks and sewer in­stal­la­tions.

“Only a quar­ter found it ex­tremely or very im­por­tant that their fam­i­lies had side­walks to walk on in the neigh­bour­hood,” he said.

Craw­ley said the as­so­ci­a­tion LAWRENCE an­tic­i­pates the city’s re­vised pro­posal will be pre­sented to its pub­lic works and in­fra­struc­ture com­mit­tee in April.

John Gill, a former mem­ber of LPRA and a lo­cal res­i­dent, plans to at­tend the com­mit­tee meet­ing. How­ever, he said he in­tends to make a pre­sen­ta­tion out­lin­ing the need for side­walks and ac­ces­si­bil­ity through­out the neigh­bour­hood.

Gill ar­gued the Fo­rum Re­search sur­vey only tar­geted peo­ple liv­ing on those streets di­rectly af­fected by the con­struc­tion.“So you’re go­ing to have a very par­tic­u­lar bias for those re­sults,” he said.

How­ever, the city’s sur­vey for the en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment asked all of Lawrence Park. “In that poll [in 2013], pedes­trian safety was the num­ber one con­cern,” Gill said.

The pub­lic works and in­fra­struc­ture com­mit­tee is sched­uled to meet April 12.

Sev­eral old trees on St. Leonards Av­enue are marked for pos­si­ble re­moval

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.