Countdown To Construction – Tree Protection In Toronto

Real Estate, Tales From Tennis Crescent

Welcome to The Tales From Tennis Crescent, where I'm sharing my journey re-inventing a 1960s super-solid utilitarian plain-jane duplex on Tennis Crescent in Riverdale.



So the countdown is on to start the renovation, nearly a year after getting approvals from the City of Toronto's Committee of Adjustment. It's taken a year of busting my butt to save the additional capital required to execute the next phase (the exterior shell and basic interior finishes) while engaging my structural engineer Frank Infante from Engineering Link Incorporated and Paul Dowsett of SustainableTO to take the preliminary design and complete them into construction drawings for permits. It's also required my getting Tree Protection Approvals from the City.

You see, the Private Tree By-law was adopted to preserve significant trees on private property in the City of Toronto, to assist in sustaining the urban forest in the City and to educate individuals with respect to tree protection measures and alternatives to tree injury and destruction. This by-law – formally known as City of Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 813, Article III, 'Private Tree Protection' – is commonly referred to as the City's “Private Tree By-law”. This by-law regulates injury or removal of privately owned trees which measure 30 cm in diameter or more as measured at 1.4 m above ground level.

I'm a fan of trees – who isn't?! Did you know the majority of large trees in Toronto that line many of our residential streets were planted around 1920, and now have about ten to fifteen years left in their life expectancy? Each year the summer thunderstorms and heavy winter snowfalls destroy more of these precious specimens, to the point that very soon we run the risk of visually scarred streetscapes while exacerbating our environmental crisis. Despite the numerous ravines and green spaces amidst our urban core, Toronto’s urban forest only covers about 20 per cent of our City. Ideally, Toronto should maintain a tree canopy of 30 to 40 per cent in order to be healthy, diverse and sustainable. Here's a must-read piece I wrote called For The Love Of Trees, which shares a summary on the benefits of trees.

This Private Tree By-law has been around for ten years, so you'd think we'd all be on board for preserving our trees, but every few months we hear stories of outrage, including this recent one called “Developer Cuts Down 30 Mature Trees, City Says No Permit Was Issued“.

Part of my requirement included enlisting Alex Karney from Urban Forest Associates Inc. to prepare an Arborist Report that analyzed the existing trees and addressed any impact the additions and alterations will have on them. Given my neighbour has a large tree just a dozen feet from the house, early on I explored proposing the rear additions be constructed on helical piles so as to not impact the root system. The report reviewed the potential impact in detail, as well as made recommendations on how to mitigate potential damage, along with the recommendation I plant an additional tree at the rear of the property, all of which I found agreeable in advance of submitting it to the Committee. The cost for this report was about $650.

Here are a couple of snaps of my garden:


And here are some photos showing what the City has required I do in order to begin my addition and renovation. These photos had to be sent to the City in order for the permit to be issued.



Now that the tree protection fencing is secure – at a cost of $1750 – the construction drawings will be submitted imminently to the City for a permit and my construction team is ready to begin on what will be a massive undertaking. Despite having been engaged in the property market for 26 years, all I can say is this is not for the faint of heart. Even with all of my experience in residential real estate development, I'm both excited and nervous! 

Stay tuned for more Tales From Tennis Crescent!

~ steve


Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000

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Tales From Tennis Crescent

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