Toronto Star

Tree will live on after neighbours clash

Removal of 70-year-old elm halted despite initial permit


A 70-year-old Siberian Elm tree will live on after a clash between neighbours about whether it should be cut down ended with a warning that police would be called if the man who wanted to chop it down was caught trespassin­g.

The 86-centimetre diameter tree is on the boundary of two bordering properties — one on Ellis Park Rd. and the other on Ellis Ave. — by a ravine near High Park.

David Sher, whose family has lived in the home on Ellis Park Rd. since the 1970s, filed an applicatio­n in November to remove the tree after the trunk’s growth started to crush the gutter of his garage.

But neighbour JeanAnn Stewart and her husband Eric Poot said the tree has an important esthetic effect on the entire neighbourh­ood’s tree canopy and is on her side of the property line.

The city issued a letter to Stewart last month informing her that Sher’s applicatio­n met staff’s requiremen­ts and he’d soon receive a permit to remove the tree.

“We did speak with a lawyer and I spoke with many people at the city and they all said, ‘just don’t let him on your property,’ ” Stewart said.

She and her husband sent Sher a letter earlier this month indicating that they would contact police to complain Sher was trespassin­g if he crossed their property line to remove the tree.

Sher responded in an email that he had cancelled his order with an arborist to cut it down.

“It’s really quite annoying,” Sher, 80, told the Star.

“The arborist said he didn’t think he would be able to do it without going into their garden,” Sher said. “With the overhangin­g, any activity would be complicate­d. They would be in the air above their property. Whether or not that would be considered trespassin­g, I don’t know.”

He said he was looking into other options to stop the tree’s growth from further crushing his garage, in- cluding remodellin­g the gutter or building a new garage entirely.

Sher said that what he finds most frustratin­g about the ordeal is he was willing to pay for the entire process of cutting down the tree, which he estimated would cost $10,000.

“What is irritating is the tree is on the property border, which means I suppose if something happens to the tree, they can come and insist that I go half-and-half and help them pay,” he said.

Stewart said she and her husband are happy with the outcome of the dispute, but remain cautious. They plan to install a webcam pointed at the tree so they can monitor if anyone crosses the border onto their property.

“We’re still on edge,” Stewart said. “Trees are an emotional thing.”

 ?? CARLOS OSORIO/TORONTO STAR ?? Eric Poot and JeanAnn Stewart remain cautious about the tree dispute.
CARLOS OSORIO/TORONTO STAR Eric Poot and JeanAnn Stewart remain cautious about the tree dispute.

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