Trees could be removed to make way for new $250K sidewalk in Collingwood
Photoshopped sidewalk from Collingwood staff report, looking south on Hurontario Street at Golfview Drive.
Preliminary sidewalk designs for the east side of Hurontario Street between Lockhart Road and Tracey Lane were considered by committee on Monday night
By Jessica Owen Collingwood Today
Council members were able to see the sidewalk through the trees on Monday night.
The development and operations standing committee got a first look at plans and costs associated with the installation of a new sidewalk on the east side of Hurontario Street between Lockhart Road and Tracey Lane last night, but shared concerns about the future of the existing trees that may need to be uprooted along the route to make way for the infrastructure.
The sidewalk will come with a price tag of $250,000.
Coun. Deb Doherty, Coun. Kathy Jeffery and Mayor Brian Saunderson had concerns about the existing trees being removed to make room for the sidewalk.
“If we are removing 59, I think we need to be replacing 59, and if they can’t be along this stretch, where can it be?” asked Jeffery.
The boulevard along this section of Hurontario Street contains 59 trees that will require removal in order to install the sidewalk. Engineering services is recommending the removal of the trees and the placement of the sidewalk 2.5 metres behind the curb, allowing for the 2.5 metres to be used for snow storage for the road and sidewalk.
The impacted trees include 46 Scots Pine, one Green Ash, two White Ash, four American Elm, two Manitoba Maple, one Silver Maple, two European Buckthorn and one Norway Maple. *
As part of the project, about 25 replacement trees would be planted in the boulevard which will be proper municipal shade trees properly spaced to promote long-term health.
Director of Public Works and Engineering Brian MacDonald said a forestry plan for the town is coming out at the end of next month, and will address tree canopy as well as replacement formulas more in depth.
“We are taking down more than we’re putting back,” he said. “It’s based on a recommendation from our landscape architect. They require certain spacing to promote good health of the trees.”
John Velick, manager of engineering with the town presented his staff report to council on the project.
According to the report, the town has received requests for a sidewalk along the east side of Hurontario Street from Lockhart Road to Tracey Lane. As Hurontario Street is an arterial road, town engineering standards recommend sidewalk on both sides of the road. The west side of Hurontario Street currently has a sidewalk located approximately 2.5 metres back from the edge of pavement.
As Phase 2 of the Eden Oak (Indigo Estates) subdivision is underway, it is anticipated that there will be further pressure for this sidewalk once people begin occupying the subdivision.
According to the staff report, while the removal of these trees is not desirable, the alternative is to place the sidewalk directly behind the curb, which is also not desirable.
North of the intersection of Hurontario and Lockhart, the eastern sidewalk is immediately behind the curb. This poses operational issues in the winter as the road plow pushes snow onto the sidewalk, states the staff report.
Doherty also asked whether cycling lanes were being taken into consideration while this work is being completed.
“This seems to be a golden opportunity for us to incorporate bike lanes when we’re adding sidewalk,” she said.
MacDonald said this project was specifically looking at sidewalks.
“Cycling and bike lanes would be talking about major work regarding curbs and widening the road. This is strictly to put a sidewalk within the existing boulevard. It’s not intended to be a major project,” he said.
Jeffery said, in terms of process, council had agreed the Cycling Plan would go to budget deliberations in terms of costs.
“I think we would need to determine the priority of projects as they happen in town,” said Jeffery.
The cost to complete the work will be included in the 2020 Capital Budget. The work will be included in the Lockhart/Hurontario intersection reconstruction scheduled for 2020.
The committee voted on Monday night to recommend placing the sidewalk 2.5 metres from the curb on Hurontario Street between Lockhart Drive and Tracey Lane, allowing for the tree removal.
The decision will need to be ratified at the next regular meeting of council.
- AWARE Simcoe note: These are either alien or not very desirable trees, with the exception of the ash, which are unfortunately under threat from the emerald ash borer, and the elm, threatened by dutch elm disease. If any of the ash or elm are showing resistance to the pest/disease, consideration should be given to saving those specimens. Replacement planting is essential however, either along the boulevard or elsewhere, and should be of genetically appropriate (as used to be the case for trees grown from Ontario Tree Seed Plant seed) native trees to provide habitat for native insects and birds.