Cutting down trees for new transit line raises alarms

Metrolinx says building Ontario line requires removing nearly 2,800 trees in Don Valley

Skyline of Don Valley
One of three sections of the Don Valley where Metrolinx is removing 2,787 trees. (Arin De Castro/Toronto Observer) 

Metrolinx is beginning the removal of trees in the Don Valley area to make way for construction of the Ontario Line.

However, the cutting of trees is raising new questions in the community about the company’s plans.

Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns said people understand more transit is needed in Toronto and that will cause some disruption.

“However, I think it is critical for anybody developing that transit to minimize damage and to consult with the community to reduce conflict and get the best solution,” Tabuns said. “I don’t believe that the consultation needed has been carried out and I am shocked by the scale of tree removal.”

Floyd Ruskin, a member of the group called A Park For All, said that he isn’t shocked about the removal of the trees because it is essential for transit growth and reducing the carbon footprint. But he is shocked about healthy, mature trees being removed.

Metrolinx announced 2,787 trees will be removed for the construction of the Ontario Line. The removal of the trees will be taken based on the three sections in their plan: The Don Valley Crossing, The Walmsley Brook Crossing and The West Don Crossing.

Metrolinx map of the general work areas for project Ontario Line. (Metrolinx)

Lack of communication from Metrolinx is an ongoing problem main problem the community has with the project, as this is not the first time the company has made a decision without the community’s input. Metrolinx has been cutting down trees at Osgoode Hall until the company had to pause a divisional court granted an injunction to an Indigenous organization.

 “We know that trees are gonna have to be lost due to create [the Ontario Line], but how do we minimize the impact to the environment?” Ruskin said. ”That’s what we’re asking for. It’s not, don’t.”

The preservation of the trees is essential to the ecosystem. It provides homes to hibernating and migrating animals. Destroying trees without caution can damage the future of the ecosystem.

Metrolkinx’s documentation released with the removal of the trees says that the company will replant one to 50 trees trees for each tree cut down, depending on the depending on the size of the tree removed.

A deer found in the Don Valley uses the environment for shelter. (Photo courtesy Paul Ruskin)

Ruskin argued though that animals can’t make a home in a sapling and he pointed out that new trees planted won’t be able to be used for the animals for years.

Tabuns said the issue is an democratic issue.

“This is a democracy and drawing in the public, and giving them a chance to improve on plans is fundamental,” he said. “Right now, with this particular example, they are not doing that.”

About this article

Posted: Mar 12 2023 9:39 am
Filed under: News