Several neighbours are asking the city to reject an application to clear four old oak trees from the yard of the home at 103 Scarborough Road.
Based on their trunk width, the red oaks are likely 100 years old.
In a letter to the city’s urban foresters, Scarborough Road resident Verinder Parmar said this is a case where the city needs to live up to its pledge to protect Toronto trees.
“Allowing developers to quietly destroy one enormous tree at a time kills our green space and urban forest canopy – two of the things we love most about our neighbourhood,” wrote Parmar.
The deadline for public comments about the tree-clearing application passed on Nov. 13, but Parmar said he knows of several neighbours on Scarborough and nearby Kingswood Roads who wrote in.
Maureen Mulligan is among them. In a letter to city councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, Mulligan said she and others are irritated with developers who build “large houses with tiny yards in place of graceful old Beach homes with heavily-treed yards.”
Mulligan also said the replacement trees required by the city when it grants tree-clearing permits do too little for the environment.
“Tiny saplings do not take the place of centuries-old oak trees,” she wrote, noting two recent city reports that highlight the carbon-capture and shade benefits of large, mature trees.
Under Toronto’s private-tree bylaw, homeowners require a city permit to remove any tree with a trunk 30 cm or wider at 1.4 metres off the ground.
Besides the application, staff review an arborist’s report, public comments, and comments from the local city councillor before deciding to issue a permit.
Along with a $100 application fee and the cost for tree removal, homeowners who receive a tree-clearing permit must buy a replacement tree or pay the city to plant one at $583 per tree.
City council has vowed to boost Toronto’s tree canopy so that its coverage grows from 26 to 40 per cent of the city. Of Toronto’s 10.2 million trees, 60 per cent grow on private land.