What do you do to save the trees in Long Branch (Toronto) and elsewhere? Here’s what to do.

Trees in Long Branch. Jaan Pill photo

Trees are a topic that strongly interests me. My father, who was born in 1915, was a forester in Estonia. Before we arrived in Halifax in 1951, my father followed this line of work in Sweden for some years. Before that, our extended family had escaped as wartime refugees to Sweden from Estonia in 1944 just before the borders were closed by the Soviet occupying forces during the Second World War. The departure from Estonia involved two different sea vessels travelling across the Baltic Sea, under conditions in which many lives were lost.

From my father, I learned a few things about trees. What I have learned has stayed with me. I look forward to following, in the years ahead, my interest in trees and all that the presence of trees upon the earth entails.

Trees in Long Branch

I have been recently following with interest, and on occasion participating in, a most interesting story about the preservation of trees in Long Branch (Toronto) where I live.

I engage in quite a few conversations of this nature, more often concerning issues related to the Committee of Adjustment and related decision-making bodies in relation to building permits.

Previous posts by Steve Nazar and David Godley are of relevance with regard to such conversations.

How things get done at the municipal level is a matter, in the end, of political, social, and economic processes. Of those processes, the political dimension is among the ones in which citizens have an ability to exert an influence.

I am pleased that some political movement appears to be in progress in this area, in particular with regard to getting rid of the OMB as a key “decider” in the decision-making process as it related to urban planning at the City of Toronto.


It’s my personal belief that there is value in sharing of accurate and balanced information, in having an awareness of tactics and strategy, and in approaching issues on a collaborative basis in which the building up of trust, based on practical proofs of trustworthiness, is a key element.

Proofs are always necessary, as is an awareness that trustworthiness yesterday or today does not necessarily mean trustworthiness tomorrow, and that what matters is the present moment, and the circumstances that are a part of the present moment.

To say this in another way, the channelling of anger isn’t among my specialties, although wisdom in dealing with anger is a necessary part of life. In the long run, solutions driven by anger aren’t the ones that make people happy; that’s my personal reading of these matters. Of course, other people may see all manner of things in different ways.

Privacy of information

So, anyway, I don’t generally make it a practice to share – online, at this website – some of the detailed discussions that I engage in, at the local level, because there are usually issues of privacy of information that must be respected. As well, there are other reasons to take care with regard to what information gets posted, and what information does not get posted.

The tree story is a narrative that can be posted, provided that I leave out details. In general terms, the story proceeds as follows.

Application to remove trees

A local resident has shared a message in which an attempt is made to be proactive regarding an application that has been submitted to remove some trees on a street in Long Branch in Toronto. I mention it’s in Toronto because I occasionally get messages about the Long Branch in New Jersey, which is also a Long Branch that is of much interest to me.

To give a brief background, the property that is related to the story about the trees was bought by a developer a few years ago. The question that was of interest to the letter writer was: Who to do, in the circumstances?

A pertinent feature of the story is that some of the trees are on an adjacent property.

The message is summed up thusly: “I would really appreciate any suggestions/advice/feedback.”

Here is a key message that has been circulated in response to the request for suggestions, advice, and feedback:

“The builder would have to get a permit to cut down any trees not on his property and there should have been notices put up.

“An arborist would have to look at the site and determine that the damage to the roots would kill the tree, and this is based on the age and health of the tree.

“Cutting it down or injuring it they still need a permit.

“They do have to pay for the cost of replacement and if it is an injury situation they have to post a bond which does pay for it if it dies.

“The elected councillor has to agree to the tree removal or it is voted on at Community Council.

“[Ward 13] Councillor Sarah Doucette is the tree advocate for the city – send her an email if you wish clarification – councillor_doucette@toronto.ca

“She sits on the Community Council and will help you to stop unnecessary tree removal.

“The other person you can call to get an update on whether permission has been granted is Arthur Beauregard abeaureg@toronto.ca – Manager, City of Toronto Urban Forestry Standards & Policies.

October 2014 election


“They can always influence the decision by contacting their local city councillor councillor_grimes@toronto.ca

An additional message is that October is election time and that is the greatest time for influence on all decisions.

Response to the information

The resident who sent out the original message has found the above-noted information incredibly informative and very helpful.

Additional information sources

I wish to share with you information about an arborist that I have been in touch with over a period of many years, having learned about his work in the course of many conversations with many people.

He is also a valuable source of information regarding the matters that are the topic of discussion in this post.

That person is Ian Bruce from Bruce Tree.

Another great contact is Maple Hill Tree Services.


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