A controversial tree in Dollard-des-Ormeaux will be felled by the city, despite a public outcry and a petition to save it that collected hundreds of signatures.
“The old mayor would have never done this,” said Howard Schrider, who fought to save the decades-old linden tree.
The mature linden has been growing on DDO city property on Maupassant Street for 30 years. It stands between two homes, and the neighbours have starkly different hopes for its future.
Schrider has tried to save it, circulating an online petition that garnered over 800 signatures. He also sent the city a lawyer’s letter demanding the tree not be cut down.
His neighbour, Vincent Daou, requested the tree be removed because its sap makes a mess on his car and driveway, which Daou says can be dangerous.
“We’ve been living with this for 11 or 13 years now,” Daou explained to Global News.
The DDO resident explained that one day, the sap on his car windshield nearly got him into a head-on collision.
“I was rushing to get downtown so I just used the wipers, and the wipers just made it worse. It was so blurry I almost got into an accident,” Daou said. “I love trees, I love the environment, but what almost happened to me could happen to my wife, too. This tree doesn’t belong over the driveway.”
He believes people who signed the petition did so without all the facts.
“I would have voted to save it, too, if I didn’t know what had happened,” Daou said. He added there have been repeated attempts to treat the tree over the years that have failed to eliminate the problem.
After continued requests from Daou, DDO council voted unanimously to remove the tree. He says he made sure to stipulate that another tree would be planted to replace it.
The linden tree was set to be removed Wednesday morning, but according to Daou, the operation was delayed in part because Global News was present.
Mayor Alex Bottausci did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.
“It’s unfortunate the mayor doesn’t listen to public comments and he doesn’t respond to lawyers’ letters,” Schrider said.
“His town council, who made the decision to cut this tree, are a dangerous group.”
Schrider now wonders if others in the neighbourhood will seek to remove trees too.
“Now it opens the floodgates for other people to ask for their trees to be cut down. It sets a precedent. Now people are going to call all the time and say, ‘My swimming pool has leaves in it, come cut down my tree,'” he said.
Schrider insists he will keep voicing his displeasure to the city, even after the tree has been removed.