Friday, October 29, 2010

The old tree switcheroo on Metcalfe

For fans of the Urban Tree Conservation by-law, including those on the Centretown Citizens Community Association's Trees & Greenspace Committee, there has been a lot of activity lately on a couple blocks of Metcalfe around Gilmour, Lewis, and Waverley.

Back in October 2009, 296 Metcalfe (at Lewis, South-West corner) changed occupants from Bridgetech Systems to Dr. Patrick Murphy's hearing institute.

In the front lawn was a large tree in full fall colours:

In early November, the tree was removed. While the by-law requires a sign to be posted one week before and one week after the tree removal, this doesn't apply to diseased trees that are a safety hazard (a permit is still required, just no sign).

Unfortunately, this makes it impossible to distinguish between an illegal tree removal and the legal removal of a diseased tree, as explained by David E. Barkley, Manager of Forestry Services at the City of Ottawa, that month in response to my inquiry:

The tree removed was a private tree, a permit was issued for the removal but due to the poor condition of the tree, it was deemed a safety hazard which means the posting of the permit was waived, the normal requirement for posting is 7 days prior and 7 days following the removal.

I have attached the web link to the report and by-law in case you would like to review the details
A couple days after the machine's first bite off the tree, all that was left was a pile of mulch.

Finally, in October 2010, the City installed new trees on the boulevard.

Down the block and across the street, the Executive apartments at 305 Metcalfe had some landscaping work done in July 2009, removing some brush:

In this shot from mid-August, there's a fair size tree on the boulevard, maybe eight inches in diameter at chest height.

But by March 2010, that tree was removed--I'm not sure by whom--leaving just a stump. As you can see in the photo from in front of 296 Metcalfe above, it looks like there weren't any new trees planted in front of the Executive.

Then not too far away, the Chancery of the Nigerian High Commission has done some exterior renovations as well. At the end of March 2010, we can see three trees along Metcalfe, each three and a half storeys tall, plus shrubs along Lewis:

By late June, they had removed the trees and shrubs and were preparing to re-sod the lawn.

They took this opportunity to apply a marble finish to the bare concrete bed at the ground level. This was complicated by the fence right in front of that surface.

In mid-October, a second fence was added to the building's perimeter, and two small saplings were planted to replace the three large trees. Hopefully they will survive in that narrow grassy boulevard like the three old trees did on the lawn.

North of this stretch, Metcalfe has lots of trees that make it a pleasant street, despite being a rush-hour traffic artery.

While the loss of five mature trees is troublesome, in a couple of decades the five new trees planted will be big enough to help restore Metcalfe to its former glory, like Kent Street before it was widened, or Bronson Avenue after it is narrowed.

If they don't get cut down again.

[The series What I learned in Montréal resumes next week.]

1 comment:

  1. I am trying to find a pic of the house that once stood at 305 Metcalfe St. back before the lowrise building.