East York tree planting wiped out by vandals

Nearly all 120 trees and shrubs planted by volunteers three weeks ago are gone

Three weeks after eager community volunteers planted about 120 trees and shrubs in Taylor Creek Park next to Victoria Park Avenue, the new plants are gone.

Vandals are responsible, says Cheryl Post of the city’s parks, forestry and recreation department, who supervised the mass planting on Oct. 5.

“We haven’t had this happen on this kind of scale before,” she said of the destruction of so many plants.

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Only six plants remain on the site today, according to Streeter’s inspection.

City staff found the uprooted plants where they had been thrown into the forest near the site, Post said.

In fact, staff have replanted the area at least once since Oct. 5 after they discovered about 50 plants had been removed. But since that replanting, vandals apparently struck again and almost all the plants were torn out.

“Unfortunately we can’t continue with the replanting at this point because we don’t have the resources to keep replanting the same area,” Post said.

The city hasn’t had this problem on other planting sites, she said, and she could not explain why this East York site is prey to vandals to this degree.

A volunteer planter, who didn’t want her name used, noted that plants installed in another part of Taylor Creek Park on the same day had not been touched.

The vandalized site is on an open plateau between Victoria Park Avenue and a public pathway leading from the road down into the ravine.

The volunteer herself recovered three of the uprooted trees from the woods today, complete with their root balls, and replanted them in their former holes.

The planting on Oct. 5, coordinated by the city and Friends of the Don East volunteer group, drew about 80 local residents from East York and southwest Scarborough, including families with children.

So many people came to help that the planting was completed in less than an hour and more volunteers were still arriving.

Lead volunteer James McArthur said at the time the planting was important to Friends of the Don East because it would create a habitat for wild life, help combat climate change and create local resilience to floods.

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Posted: Oct 28 2019 9:45 am