Maple tree near JGH skeded for demo

Many of you have noticed the sign attached to a Norway Maple tree just south-west of the John Gibson House in the northish west end of the park.  The Urban Forestry Department of Parks, Forestry and Recreation is seeking any objections before February 14.  Call Gary LeBlanc,Urban Forestry Planner, City Forester’s Office, Parks Forestry and Recreation, at 416 392 0494.  You can also email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Copy any emails to Councillor Mike Layton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Photo: A note from a neighbour:
"Please find attached the Notice of Destruction for a beautiful Maple tree which stands on the west side of the John Gibson House in Trinity Bellwoods Park.  Objections are required by February 14th.  
The notice indicates that the removal is required for construction of an accessibility ramp.  I can't help but think that given the wide open spaces around the John Gibson House, there can't be another option.  This is the only tree standing on the west of the JGH.
I appreciate your input/efforts to garner attention.  Many neighbours are writing letters to the Urban Forestry contact indicated on the notice.  Additional attention would be wonderful!"

The tree is apparently sited for removal/destruction because the John Gibson House is installing wheelchair access at the front of their building as part of the upcoming three-storey addition on the back of the building.  According to Marian Prejel at City Planning (416 392 9337), the barrier-free ramp has been separated out as a separate proposal by City Planning because LOFT (which runs Gibson House and its programs) has received financing which must be used before March 31st, 2013 to build the ramp.  Prejel adds that the proposal calls for a replacement tree to be planted.

Per Ms. Prejel the site plan aproval** is NOT a public process, but according to Mr. LeBlanc the tree removal is being treated as a tree on private property (which requires public notice)  because LOFT is a private company -- although operating on city-owned land. 

According to Ms. Prejel, the three story development (many neighbors attended a public meeting in 2009/2010) is currently going through a technical process with various city departments (City Planning, Heritage, Technical services like water and sewage, etc) and will take upwards of 6 months to a year before approval --  but the barrier free ramp has already received sign-off from those departments.

Many of you remember that the original proposal* stated categorically that NO trees would be removed.

The city's Heritage Department may be the most responsible for the tree's destruction because, as a designated Heritage Building, they have limited what can be done off the front of the building with regard to this ramp. UPDATE: Heritage division says "the heritage status of the property did not necessitate the addition of a ramp in that particular location."

Are there other options for the ramp besides cutting down the tree?  The city's planning department seems to suggest not, and to see the drawings and plans for the ramp one must call Ms. Prejel and book an appointment.

But in a time when the city has a mandate to increase the tree canopy of the city it seems counterproductive to remove healthy trees from public parks.  It takes only a few days to build a ramp or to design something that complements the building's 1800s-era design -- but some 25 to 30 years to grow another tree.

What do you think? 

Please write our City Councillor Mike Layton (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Gary LeBlanc (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to let them know what you think before Thursday, February 14, 2013.

* Here is a copy of the plans as presented to the community at that time.


Here is the current proposal of ramp that requires the tree to be cut down:


Here are two alternative drawings for the ramp, without cutting down the tree;



 Here is link to TBCA addition info:

** Here is a link the JGH development application status.  If you wish to view the file (with current plans, etc) you may set up an appointment by contacting Marian Prejel, Senior Planner, (416) 392-9337, email  Prejel, Marian


Where is the Park?

Trinity Bellwoods Park is located at Strachan and Queen Street West in Toronto, Ontario. It extends from Queen W to Dundas Street West to the north, with Gorevale on east and Crawford/Shaw to west. A square 'handle' of the park juts west from Crawford to Shaw, which is where the Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market ( is located.

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