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The fate of the NW corner trees (reno)

From Andrea Holtslander, May 27, 2019

tree saved

The big tree south of the rinkhouse will be spared.

However, the three mature trees on the east side of the rink are to be removed, in both options.

Their removal is visible in slides 36 and 37 ďImpact on Existing Landscape.Ē Itís a very dense image, and these trees werenít discussed at the consultation meeting, according to someone who was there.

three mature trees will be gone

tree at SW corner

For some reason, the tree at the southeast corner of the rink (attachment on the right, below) doesnít appear in any of the images of the site in its present form [see slides 15, 23, 32]. The presentation doesn't give an accurate image to compare the existing site to what is proposed.

More trees will be planted, which is great. However, young trees do not have the same environmental benefits of mature trees for carbon capture. ďÖ[T]he older a tree is, the better it absorbs carbon from the atmosphere. In fact, the research suggests that almost 70 per cent of all the carbon stored in trees is accumulated in the last half of their lives.Ē

It seems odd to me that an avenue of mature trees will be fed to a woodchipper to make an avenue of young trees.

I guess this is being done to replace a still functioning rink, with a new rink?

Perhaps the rink could be scooched over to the west, into where the plaza is supposed to go, to spare these big trees.

Or perhaps we could leave the rinks alone, as well as the trees, and just replace the aging refrigeration machinery which caused last seasonís delay.

As for the zamboni garage and storage, other solutions should be found which donít have so much impact on the site. It will still be a long walk across the plaza in skates, and judging from Friday Night suppers and farmerís market days in warm months, people prefer to sit on the grass and under the trees, not on a concrete plaza. Raised beds for accessible gardening could be added to the site without replacing a whole rink.

the two Japanese cherry trees

Other trees not shown in the existing site images of the presentation are the three cherry trees on the south side of the rink (see slides 22, 29, 30, 31).

Slides 35 and 36 indicate they will be transplanted, pending the advice of an arborist. These trees have to make room for the widening of the rink and making a big sidewalk if Option 1 goes ahead, or the complete reorientation of the rinks and basketball court if Option 2 is the plan.

I am concerned these trees wouldnít survive transplantation, particularly the big cherry tree kids love climbing in.

We still havenít heard what codes or bylaws require the replacement of the rinks. It seems an unnecessary disruption and environmentally wasteful, both for the concrete and now with cutting down mature trees. Iím all for more trees in the park but letís leave the mature ones there, for their beauty, shade, and superior carbon capture. Iíd also rather see grass and flowers than big expanses of concrete, aside from whatís necessary for accessible pathways.

Here's the presentation:

From: Ellen Manney June 3, 2019

Just a note of clarification. The Community Resource Group has always been an advisory group to the City. It doesnít decide anything, including how to spend 3.5 million dollars. The people in this group make suggestions and that is it.

It is a lucky thing that this process was set up so that we could suggest ideas and it is even luckier that the architecture firm that was chosen, listens hard to all of our suggestions.

Andrea Holtslander Jun 9, 2019

At the public meeting regarding the Dufferin Grove NW corner reno last Wednesday, I spoke with the lead architect about the area indicated for the zamboni snow dump in the Option 2 plan which has been selected to go forward.

In the Option 2 plans the snow dump area is to go north of the rinks, and is much smaller than the area normally covered by the snow dump. (see page 45 "Rink Function in Winter" of the presentation

The architect said this was an issue they were still solving. One idea the design team had was to create a facility to melt the snow. Another possibility was trucking the snow away.

These two solutions for dealing with the zamboni snow sound carbon-intensive.

As parents know, the snow dump area is a very popular place for children to play in the winter. Often there is not enough snow to go tobogganing. Kids will play for hours sliding and jumping and doing creative play in the snow dump area, much as they use the sand pit in the summer. Also, the area is well-lit which is important during the short days of winter.

If you have feedback about this, please let the design team know on their feedback form.

Belinda Cole <>: Jun 11 2019

I really want to see some changes to the rink house at Dufferin Park, and I like some of the design elements.

But demolishing the rinks to replace them with new ones poses a huge problem for me. I'm guessing lots of us saw the Anthropocene exhibit at the AGO.

The city insists we tear out, then replace 2 rinks that are apparently working fine, based on an assumed lifespan.

Isn't this is a pivotal Anthropocene question in our own back (park)?

I can't feel a sense of horror at green houses in the mountains, marble and copper mines elsewhere - without wondering what the effects of the proposed rink demolition and replacement look like right here. The energy to tear up cement surfaces, move it, add it to landfill, mine and transport the materials needed to make it, produce the greenhouse gases and use huge amounts of water to make more concrete, transport that concrete here, ....

I feel deeply grateful for the gifts of nature - and ravishing the earth to replace what we already have feels deeply wrong to me.

Here are some contacts you can quickly e-mail to voice your feelings on this matter:

Councillor Bailo: Alex Lavasidis <>, Liz McHardy <> Katy Aminian <Katy.Aminian <>

June 13, 2019, from Erella Ganon

I get it. We all have something better to do. There was a meeting last week to discuss options to the park. I was not well but dragged my body there. We all can at least become informed.

There have been numerous meetings to discuss what we want. There is money to renovate our park and we can have a say in what is being proposed.

In NONE of the options, have the rinks become one In NONE of the options are we losing the bake ovens or garden, or mature trees, or Danís Tables.

Last week we had a big public meeting. You and everyone was invited to attend. I was disappointed by the lousy turn out.

THAT would have been a good time to discuss your concerns.

The day after, a survey was circulated.

The group that is charged with making changes keeps on asking what weíd like. They have had pop up info sessions in the neibourhood and at the Thursday market.

They are making adjustments in the present tense.

Making the rink house accessible is a priority. I asked for elevated gardens so people in wheelchairs or walkers can enjoy the gardens and this is now in every plan.

I was skeptical and now I am glad to have extra money to make this park better at a time when all we hear about is cuts.

Dear Dufferin Grove Park community members,

Thank you to those who attended the Dufferin Grove Park North-west Corner and Clubhouse Improvements public meeting yesterday evening. To gather feedback from community members who did not attend the public meeting, the project team is hosting an online feedback form, from June 6 to June 20, 2019. The feedback form is available online at: <>

We ask that you please fill in the feedback form by June 20. We encourage you to share the link to the online feedback form with fellow Dufferin Grove Park users and community members, including any relevant online communities.

A summary of the public meeting feedback and online feedback form will be posted on the website when it is available. The meeting presentation is available here: <>

Is this current proposed plan perfect? Not by a long shot, but it is way better than what was first proposed because many of us took the time to become informed and make sure our input is being considered. <>

2019-06-13 1:23 p.m., 'Andrea Holtslander' via dufferingrovefriends wrote:

Hi Erella, You mention in your last email that no mature trees will be removed for the Dufferin Grove reno. However, in the design firm's May presentation, in slide 36 "Option 2: Impact on the Existing Landscape" it shows that the three large trees east of the rink will be cut down to make room for the new rinks.

More trees will be planted, however, it will take many years for them to reach the same size. Younger trees also do not absorb as much carbon. This article from CBC states "The study found that the older a tree is, the better it absorbs carbon from the atmosphere. In fact, the research suggests that almost 70 per cent of all the carbon stored in trees is accumulated in the last half of their lives."

I walk past these trees every day, and it breaks my heart to think of them being fed into a wood chipper.

They are being removed to make room for new rinks, when a recent Freedom of Information response showed the rinks do not need to be replaced. I think improving the rink house is fine, and making the park more accessible is very important. But replacing the rinks is environmentally wasteful and excessive. Andrea

On Friday, June 28, 2019, Leena Raudvee <> wrote:

I just came across this email again and was wondering if the issue of the mature trees at the east end of the rinks was brought up at the June meeting. I wasn't able to attend the meeting and was away for the feed-back period.

Looking again at option 2 there is a row of trees at the east end of the rink but they are all the same size and at some hypothetical future age so the loss of the existing mature trees is not apparent. Was this addressed at the meeting? Thanks, Leena

Andrea Holtslander <>: Jun 29 2019

At the last public meeting, someone asked if any mature trees would come down in the renovation. The lead architect responded that a green corridor would be maintained. I asked for clarification that, according to the design firm's "Impact on the Landscape" slide from the May CRG presentation, (which was removed from the June presentation) it indicated that three mature trees just east of the rink would be removed, and the architect nodded. There appeared to be more city staff than park users at the June public meeting . That was the extent of the tree discussion. Best,Andrea

Erella <>: Jun 29 02:25PM -0400

Hi Leena and Andrea, I asked the people at Parks and Lura about the mature trees last week.

This is the the response I received.

Hi Erella,

Of the 24 new trees to be planted, none are considered part of the park tree replacement program currently underway in the park (they are all additional to this program).

Unfortunately, there really isnít a reliable method to estimate the age of trees. Trees grow at varying rates between species and seasons so size wonít always indicate the age or health of trees. Growing conditions and microclimate also play significant roles in the size and health of a tree. Instead arborists look at metrics such as the diameter of the trunk, trunk integrity, and crown structure, vigor and die-back to assess the overall health of a tree. Arborists will review and note any structural anomalies or visible defects (including signs of disease and pests which could impact other nearby trees) to help inform the value or risk of preserving any specific tree. Once the finalized arborist report is received, the project team will be able to provide more information on the health of the existing trees and measures being taken to protect trees or replace trees that are being impacted too heavily.


CAROL KIDD <>: Jun 29 2019

Out of curiosity, how many years of growth do the removal of the 7 trees represent? And in regard to the comment that 24 trees will be planted, of that number, how many were already scheduled to be planted, ie were they already part of the tree replacement program currently underway in the Park?

Leena Raudvee <>: Jul 02 2019

I had thought that it was clear that keeping mature trees was a priority in the discussion of various plans for the NW corner of the park.

Of course new trees also need to be planted but they do not replace the many benefits of a mature tree. Could the rink design be adjusted to accommodate the 3 trees at the east end of the current rinks? Certainly the largest tree at the north east end of the rinks is worth fighting for! The new row of uniform replacement trees look lovely on the plan but will not provide the shade, the habitat, the environmental benefits of the mature trees for many many years.

Liz reported in her email to Erella that "In total 7 trees will be removed". Where are the other 4 that are being removed? Which specific trees are being removed? It is not always easy to distinguish between the representation of an existing tree and a newly planted tree on the plans, particularly with having to scroll back and forth between screens to compare.

What about the existing trees along the path on the north side of the rink. Are they being kept?

There will be enough environmental damage in the course of the construction. Let us preserve as much green space and big tree space as we can.

Aug 5 2019, Leena Raudvee to Lura posted on the listserv:

Thank-you for your response (July 10) to my letters. I assume that the arborist's report has been received and that some information could be made available about the fate of the existing mature trees in the NW corner of Dufferin Grove Park. My query is very specific. There will undoubtedly be a lot of information that will need to be conveyed at the next public meeting and the future of our green canopy could easily get lost in the reporting of all the other changes and revisions.

From Andrea's letter from June 13: "in the design firm's May presentation, in slide 36 "Option 2: Impact on the Existing Landscape" it shows that the three large trees east of the rink will be cut down to make room for the new rinks." <>

Liz reported in her email to Erella that "In total 7 trees will be removed".

Where are the other 4 that are being removed? Which specific trees are being removed?

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