Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More trees Under Threat in Woodgreen Ravine

Two white tailed deer returned to the young forest clearcut by developers last week, gingerly stepping around the tangled branches of the fallen trees, unaware 36 additional trees are now under threat at the southern end of the Ravine. The trees bordering Danzig Creek are protected by the Ravine bylaw and were not part of the recent clear cutting. However, as Don York, President of the Manse Valley Community Association, writes:

In the fall of 2007, trees in the protected area were tagged and when we questioned this we were advised that this area would be cleared for the construction of the sewer lines for the new development. We were later told that an agreement had been reached with the developer to tunnel in this area to minimize the loss of trees. On Friday, Jan. 11, 2008, a number of representatives from the City and from David Schaeffer Engineering Ltd. were on site examining the protected area, and when questioned, they said that they had changed their mind regarding tunneling and would be clear-cutting that section. A total of 36 trees will be removed, many of them of significant size.
Since we were originally told that there would be no loss of trees in the protected area we have never questioned that part of the development plans. Now we find out we have been mislead. The area above Danzig Creek is protected under the Ravine Bylaw, and those trees need to be protected, as provided by the Bylaw.
There were 32 trees identified on the proposed construction site as "protected" under the Tree Bylaw, but Council approval was given to remove them with no regard to the significant opposition by the public. Now we have 36 trees in the ravine area, protected under the Ravine Bylaw, and there appears to be NO requirement to get ANY permission from Council. How is this possible???
The fact that there was no reference in any of the developer documentation related to the removal of trees in the protected ravine area shows that either the Engineering firm and the City staff were incompetent in their assessment and review, or there was a DELIBERATE omission of this fact to avoid any additional confrontation with residents. Neither of these possibilities is acceptable! If facts were omitted from the report for this item, how many other facts were conveniently removed from other reports? How many more "surprises" are there going to be?
The removal of the trees in the protected area violates the terms of the Ravine Bylaw. The fact that NO approvals appear to be required to do so shows a major flaw in the process. The fact that an "agreement" was reached to tunnel and then suddenly and quietly reversed is deceitful. There was NO community involvement or notification on this !!!
IMMEDIATE action is required to further investigate this situation and discuss possible alternatives. An answer is required on how the City staff and the developer can decide to remove trees in a protected area with NO Council approval. The developer should NOT be allowed to remove those trees prior to a full investigation of this matter. It is our understanding that this removal could occur during the week beginning January 14, 2008, so there is no time for delay in actioning this item.

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