Not a good week to be a tree in Midtown

If you live on the east side of King Street, the sound of chainsaws, chippers, grinders and trucks has been the sad and depressing soundtrack of the past two weeks. Dozens of tall, mature, breathing trees have been cut down, which will take decades to replace.

Several lots have been cleared for redevelopment and it’s a bit of a stretch to see why every single tree needs to come down in some of these cases. Who approves the removal of every single tree? Can’t developers be more creative with land use, especially with in-fill lots?

As nature’s air purifiers, trees also provide shade, regulate temperatures, stabilize soil, drink up heavy rains and add beauty to an established neighbourhood. Trees have stories. \\\\

One challenge of in-fill building is that setback can be much closer to property lines, which leaves less room for trees. Can’t we find a happier compromise?

Here’s the damage so far:

18 Guelph Street, near Moore

Ontario Die Company Property – Moore Ave, Waterloo

119 Waterloo Street, near Shanley

A huge pile of evergreen branches in the backyard

27 Bismark Ave., near Duke St

This large property on Bismark is slated for two single family dwellings. The backyard meets the Duke Street Playground.

In this case, it’s really hard to understand why large trees at the very back of the property needed to be removed??

156 Waterloo Street, at Bismark Ave.

There used to be a couple beautiful evergreen trees at this corner property, but again, by building close to property lines, there is little room for mature trees.

But, their promotional signs show trees….. just on neighbouring properties.

Many neighbours felt visceral reactions to the sudden and dramatic loss of so many mature neighbourhood trees in such a short period of time. How are you dealing with the destruction?

6 thoughts on “Not a good week to be a tree in Midtown

  1. I’d never thought of it until recently but clearcutting can be an urban phenomenon. The grief is real.


  2. Thanks for the documentation. It’s a sad week indeed. I thought we were all “new urbanist” in Kitchener and had some kind of control over trees.


  3. It makes me cry. No joke. I cry every time I drive home. Living only a few doors down from the “4 plex” I can’t escape the horror.


    1. Thanks for taking the time to share this Julian and for engaging with your neighbours. It sounds like there will be some organizing for future safeguarding. It is a dramatic loss these past few weeks.


  4. Seeing the images of cut trees makes me extremely sad and frustrated. I used to live on Waterloo Street and even though I now in a different part of town, I still care for my old neighbourhood. The large mature trees were one of the main reasons I fell in love with that area and it seems very myopic to remove so many trees without any consideration of its impact on the environment and the lives of critters the trees provided home to. Especially in the era of global warming it is more important to preserve trees for their cooling effect and their contribution to better air quality. I had several mature oaks on my property and I still remember how refreshing it was to sit under one of them on a hot some day and how the temperature in the shade was several degrees cooler.
    We must do better than this.


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