Toronto

Trouble overhead: Lawrence Park fights to save hundreds of trees

Residents of Lawrence Park are upset that the city's plan to overhaul the sewer system in the area will see many old-growth trees cut down.

Plan to overhaul neighbourhood's sewer system could see old-growth trees put to the axe

Toronto city councillor Jaye Robinson talks to CBC News on May 21, 2016. (CBC)

Trouble deep underground has residents of one Toronto neighbourhood worried about the tree canopy overhead. 

Residents of Lawrence Park are upset that the city's plan to overhaul their sewer system will see many of the old-growth trees that line the upscale neighbourhood put to the axe, making room for both construction and the addition of sidewalks. 

The area has seen nearly 100 basements flood over the past year because of overgrown roots. 

But when the city proposed cutting down their trees, residents said there has to be a better way. A large ad published in Saturday's edition of the Toronto Star calls on Mayor John Tory and Coun. Jaye Robinson to spare Lawrence Park's tree canopy. 

The ad says its loss would hurt the local ecosystem and "aesthetic character." 

"A large part of the reason people move into Lawrence Park is because of the old trees, the ravine, the wildlife," said resident Jennifer Saunders.

Many trees in the area are marked for removal by red ribbons. The ad says 353 trees will be cut down, but Robinson says that number is misleading. 

"From my understanding, city staff are closer to the 100-tree mark," she told CBC News. 

Considering that property values are also at stake, Robinson says she understands the alarm.

"There's a lot of people who want to protect and preserve the trees and I'm 100 per cent on board with them," Robinson said. 

"On my watch these trees are not coming down." 

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