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City investigating after 30 trees 'illegally' cleared from York Mills lots

Last Updated Jul 28, 2016 at 6:16 am EST

The city is investigating a Toronto developer after 30 trees, including a 150-year-old linden tree, were recently cleared from two lots in York Mills.

Residents in the area said they woke up this week to find two lots completely cleared and the old tree uprooted and lying on its side.

“It’s a process and they didn’t go through the process,” area resident Philip Russel accused. “They didn’t have the permits to do this and it’s very sad.”

The properties, located at 103 and 108 Bayview Ridge, in the Bayview Avenue and York Mills Road area, were recently approved by the Ontario Municipal Board to be developed into 11 townhouse units and four single detached dwellings. Click here to see drawings of the approved proposal, or check them out at the bottom of this article.

Coun. Jaye Robinson, chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee as well as city councillor for the area, confirmed to CityNews the owner did not have the proper permits from the city to clear-cut the property.

“It’s very disconcerting. Almost unbelievable,” Robinson said, noting she’s had multiple people call into her office, some in tears about the trees’ destruction.

A spokesman for Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation confirmed in an email that the department is investigating the removal of the trees.

“The City of Toronto is aware of allegations that trees have been illegally removed at 103 and 108 Bayview Ridge and we are currently investigating. No permits have been issued to allow the injury or destruction of trees at these properties,” Matthew Cutler said.

“Toronto’s tree canopy is essential to our health, wellness and offers significant economic benefits to the City. This is why our tree bylaw requires permits to injure or destroy trees on public property or trees on private property that are over 30 centimetres in diameter.

“Property owners are encouraged to contact our staff if they want to remove a tree to ensure they are not violating the bylaw. Violations, including removing a protected tree without a permit, are subject to a fine of up to $100,000.”

Local firm M Behar Planning and Design Inc. is listed on a city report requesting a zoning bylaw amendment to develop the property.

When contacted by CityNews, the firm referred all questions to property owner Ali Mohtashami of developer Format Group.

He did not immediately return CityNews’ request for comment.

The proposed Bayview Ridge development as it appeared on the Format Group website on July 28, 2016.
The proposed Bayview Ridge development as it appeared on the Format Group website on July 28, 2016.
The proposed Bayview Ridge development as it appeared on the Format Group website on July 28, 2016.
The proposed Bayview Ridge development as it appeared on the Format Group website on July 28, 2016.

 

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