Efforts are now under way at city hall to take legal action against an unnamed developer for allegedly taking down trees without a permit at a Yonge and Lawrence area development site.
“We’ve begun the process of taking action against the fact the trees were removed without a permit,” said Ward 16 councillor Karen Stintz, days after she had turned up with a group of community activists to stop a contractor who was felling trees at the site of a proposed condominium development at 41 Chatsworth Drive.
Stintz says the city is now collecting evidence to build its case against the developer, who is accused of bringing in contractors on Feb. 1 to remove trees from the property. The site where the former Fifth Church of Christ Scientist building was razed in December was being prepared for a six-storey, 114-unit condominium.
According to city senior planner Cathie Ferguson, demolition contractor Balder Corp., acting on behalf of an undisclosed developer, filed applications in December for amendments to both the city’s Official Plan and zoning bylaws to allow for construction of the condo.
A worker on site on Feb. 1 identified himself to the Town Crier as an employee of Lions Disposal, Excavation and Demolition and said his company was subcontracted by Balder Corp.
“We have to verify that there were trees, that the trees were removed, and document the evidence of removal,” Stintz said. “If we’re going to take them to court, we need all those I’s dotted and T’s crossed.”
City bylaws allow for fines of between $500 and $100,000 for removing trees without a permit.
Stintz says it wasn’t just the lack of a permit that caused concern, but that the cutting might also have taken place on a part of the site protected by ravine protection bylaws.
The city’s urban forestry division, which is heading the investigation, did not return requests for comment.
When contacted by phone, a representative for Balder Corp. said the company was a subcontractor working as the construction manager on behalf of the property owner and developer. The representative refused to name the developer.
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