On June 5, 2012, a city contractor began cutting down mature trees in Sylvia Holden Park without any public notice. Two residents managed to stop the tree-cutting by chaining their bicycles to the machinery and calling Councillor Chernushenko. City officials later said the tree-cutting was unauthorized and the contractor, Elis Don issued an apology. However, the stop is only temporary. It is expected that proper notice will be provided and clearing of trees will resume on Monday, June 11th.
Why is tree clearing in Sylvia Holden Park going on right now? The final deal with OSEG has not been signed. What is more, the Ministry of the Environment has not approved the soil remediation plans for Lansdowne Park, and it may be months before approval is obtained. Finally, the Migratory Bird Act protects nesting areas of migratory birds so trees should not be disturbed at this time of year.
It is misleading for the City to say that it has to remove trees now in order to begin soil remediation. It would be illegal for the City to disturb the soil at this time.
The area where the trees are being cleared—Sylvia Holden Park—is outside the current Lansdowne Park boundary fence. Leaving this park intact until all approvals are obtained has no impact on the City's decisions to relocate the Horticulture Building or demolish the Coliseum.