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‘Don’t take any of them’: Port Perry residents advocate for heritage tree preservation

Click to play video: 'Port Perry residents advocate to group of mature trees' Port Perry residents advocate to group of mature trees
Residents in Port Perry are advocating to save a number of decades-old trees that are being threatened by development in a residential area. Brittany Rosen has more – Mar 18, 2021

Residents in Port Perry are defending a number of 75-year-old trees that are being threatened by development in a residential area.

Frustration is mounting for Port Perry residents Deborah K. Grose and Cathy Nunno, who say 24 decades-old spruce trees should not be lost to a proposed subdivision at 234 Union Ave.

“Should the mayor and town councillors vote for the approval of 234 Union Ave., it will be signing the death certificate for some of those trees,” Grose said.

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The property, owned by Chieftan Development Corporation, is the subject of a proposal to build 27 houses currently being considered by the township.

Scugog staff say they’ve been working with residents and the applicant to preserve most of the trees. However, they say there is a chance some could still be lost.

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“The only impact would be a servicing connection to Union Avenue,” said planning manager Robin Prentice.

“At this point, it’s hard for us to say how many trees will be impacted by that connection. We won’t know until we have the detailed design done for the servicing.”

Grose says residents want more certainty around how many trees will be removed.

“Why can’t we know where the servicing is going to be and exactly how many trees will be impacted and destroyed?” she said.

Nunno, another resident in the area, is a retired teacher who specialized in environmental studies. Like Grose, she says the trees should be preserved due to their rich history.

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“The 24 trees, and I’d like to put this in perspective, were somewhere planted around 1945. That would be post-World War II,” she said.

“Without these trees, you cut back on oxygen. You cut back on the wildlife that’s here.”

Grose and Nunno claim there are an additional 160 trees on the property that risk being removed if the proposed subdivision is approved by the township.

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They also claim an access road for an adjacent approved residential development killed 200 trees. At the time of the interview with Global News, township staff could not verify this information. Staff did say development applicants are required to provide a tree preservation plan.

“The township’s official plan provides overarching policies with respect to lot and tree protection. That’s what guides any policies we implement moving forward,” said Prentice.

“Applicants are required to provide a tree inventory of the existing site and a tree preservation plan and that’s reviewed by township staff.”

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As for Grose and Nunno, they hope to save as many trees as they can.

“Don’t take any of them,” said Nunno.

“Every one of them is home. Every one of them is a condominum. Every one is a community. Every one is an environment.”

The Chieftan housing development will go to the township’s planning and community affairs committee on March 22. If a permit is approved at the committee meeting, the item will voted on by council members March 29.

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