'It's a pretty big eyesore' London resident says of tree vandalism
Residents say children ripped out more than 70 shrubs
Vandalism has left a southwest London neighbourhood stumped.
Residents said a stand of more than 70 tree shrubs and bushes has been ripped out and stolen near two public retention ponds – the centre of four residential streets.
"We have nothing," said Bernadette Chinneck, who lives along Gabor Street in the Crestwood area. "We got excited that this area was going to be grassed and treed and cleaned up but it's not happening."
Area residents helped replant them – but it happened again.
This time, none were left.
"This is pure vandalism," said John Meyndert, who has lived in the area for more than 15 years.
He said the incident speaks to a bigger issue.
"I'm disappointed with the way it developed and the way the landscaping is done."
Residents said the two-decade old residential projects have changed much of the landscape – killing off mature trees and exposing mountains of dirt.
Several trees were cut down to install storm water management ponds 15 years ago. However, Chinneck said water poured from the undersized ponds onto a conservation area during heavy rainfalls.
The ponds have since been upgraded, but residents say the damage has already been done.
"It's a pretty big eyesore,"said Chinnek.
"This used to be called the city of trees and that's a misnomer now, they can't claim that anymore."
Residents are asking for green space - trees, grass and cemented rock - and the removal of silt fences.
Chinnek has contacted the developer and her ward councillor.
The developer was unavailable for comment to CBC.
Ashley Rammeloo, London's manager of stormwater management, said the city is not responsible for the area, yet.
"At the moment, the responsibility for maintenance end construction at the facility lays with the developer," she said. "The developer has been performing work at the storm water management facilities in preparation for assumption by the city. The pond and the trees surrounding it become city property after assumption."
Virginia Ridley, the councillor overseeing the area, has received multiple emails and phone calls regarding the situation.
She said additional reforestation projects in the area are set for the fall.
"We value the tree canopy here in London," she said. "We know that trees take a long time to grow to their full maturity so it takes a little bit of patience and understanding and recognizing that as developments continue then some of those landscapes may change but we are doing the best that we can."
City-wide environmental upkeep
ReForest London revisits planting sites to ensure maintenance every year through an aftercare program.
"It involves taking care of them, re- mulching the trees, weeding around the trees, infilling sometimes with new trees if some have died, or have been damaged, eaten or broken," said Sheila Creighton, partnership and marketing manager.
She said the non-for-profit rarely hears of vandalism reports form areas it has worked on. Crestwood was not one of them.
"More often its deer eating them or animals doing the damage as opposed to people," she said.
However, the organization puts on education programs "that foster an appreciation for trees," preventing any potential damage.
"I can't imagine a child that has taken part in a big park planting going back and doing something negative to that," said Creighton.