Gone are the days in the City of Toronto when you could simply rip down an existing home and with only the building permits in place, build what ever you wanted!!! It is February of 2007 and my phone is ringing with calls for help!
Someone doing a property flip is faced with a possible stop work order because they failed to adhere to the City of Toronto's by-laws set in place by Urban Forestry. Trees over 30 cm in caliper are protected from removal unless a permit application is made for cutting the tree down! This measurement is taken along the trunk of the tree... 4 feet (1.2 m) off the ground... at that height you measure the diameter at the tree's thickest point of the trunk.
So why is my phone ringing? Rules are not being followed by people that should know they are in place. I just came from a site visit where a residential construction project using heavy haul equipment is in the works on an older lot in the Scarborough Bluffs area... there are several large trees on the site and the construction is interfering with the root systems of these trees.
All the trees are over the 30 cm diameter and none of them are properly protected according to the city's requirements! Now what??? A 70 foot tall Colorado Blue Spruce has had 1 major anchor root severed and 3 main feeder/anchor roots severed on the south side. I need to make a tree protection plan for the city and the contractor... and I need to make a report on the tree damage...
Again, now what??? That tree will begin to show visible signs of stress in the next year or two... I expect about 10% to 20% of the branch structure on that side will be lost over the next 2 to 3 years and this once majestic looking Spruce tree will not look so hot anymore.
The saving grace...in my honest opinion is that this tree will recover from the damage... but not without scars... it will take about a good solid 3 growing seasons to redirect it's root structure for that side...it was the south side damaged and so in those 2 to 3 years... I just hope we do not get a major windstorm that will carry heavy winds off Lake Ontario and blow to the north... that may cause the tree to lean towards 3 neighbouring properties.
Anyway, the point of my rant??? Thinking about a property flip? A tear-down and rebuild... all in the City of Toronto boundaries?? If you have mature trees (30 cm or greater in caliper) and also if you live in a ravine protected area......... Call Urban Forestry before you even start work!!! As I was on that particular site today, my phone rang...someone else from another project is in the same situation with the City of Toronto over a tree needing protection during construction.
There is only so much that can be done once construction happens... If nothing was done before construction started... The inspectors for the City will be majorly annoyed! Destruction of trees and ravine property is viewed as criminal action and will be treated accordingly with fines and lawsuits by the City of Toronto.