Tree canopy - Toronto

Infill housing and protecting Toronto’s tree canopy

We strongly support the identification of potential strategies to protect and enhance the City’s tree canopy and growing space for trees, while also supporting infill housing growth in Toronto’s low-rise neighbourhoods.

However, we note the multiple previous reports to, and motions adopted by City Council, as documented by the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association (LBNA) in its PHC submission on the same item that leads to their recommendation that the effort needs to be hastened and expedited.

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Greenbelt river valley

FoNTRA’s objections to proposed Greenbelt changes

The Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations, representing over 30 residents associations in Toronto, submits the following objections on proposed changes to the Greenbelt Plan that would remove or re-designate 15 parcels of land, and add lands in the Paris Galt Moraine area.

Our submission is based on the following points.

1. There is no proven need for this additional land for development.

The government’s Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force stated that: “a shortage of land isn’t the cause of the problem. Land is available, both inside the existing built-up areas and on undeveloped land outside greenbelts.”

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Actions to Reaffirm Toronto’s Tree Canopy Target

This is to express our strong support for IEC’s recommendation that City Council reaffirm Toronto’s target of 40 percent tree canopy cover by 2050 to align with the City of Toronto’s TransformTO Net Zero Strategy. However we strongly feel that mere reaffirmation of the 40 percent tree canopy target is inadequate and ineffective. We have to:

(1) actually protect the private trees that are of protected size;
(2) strengthen the Tree Protection By-laws,
(3) increase enforcement of the existing (and hopefully enhanced) Tree Protection Bylaws
(4) Increase replacement planting when trees are to be removed.
(5) maintain and enhance the existing protection for soft landscaping in the Zoning Bylaws

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Critical Steps for Net Zero by 2040

This is to express our strong support for this report and its recommendations. We do however question whether the City has a mechanism in place to ensure that its policies are in sync with respect to the City’s approved Climate goals.  We believe this continues to be an issue. For example elsewhere on City Council’s agenda:

PH29.2 Changing Lanes: The City of Toronto’s Review of Laneway Suites – Monitoring Program and Zoning By-law Amendments – Final Report
The proposed reduction of the soft landscaping requirement in the Laneway Suites by-law is contrary to the Climate imperative to maintain or enhance protection for soft landscaping in the Zoning Bylaws.

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City Tree Canopy Study

We are the collective voice for neighbourhood associations in North Toronto and North York and have many concerns about the ongoing health and sustainability of our tree canopy. We are writing to voice our support of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee recommendations.

Specifically, we support: using the findings in the 2018 Tree Canopy Study to inform ongoing programming; to increase tree planting and maintenance on private land; to increase the tree canopy to 40%; to facilitate plans to enhance the tree canopy in identified neighbourhoods that have experienced significant losses; and to facilitate the enforcement of tree protection.

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