seton Park

A huge swath of a Toronto park has just been clear cut

Clear-cutting—a practice where most or all trees in an area are uniformly cut down—took place at E.T. Seton Park in preparation for the Ontario Line, and it has some Torontonians worried.

“Ontario Line clear cutting at ET Seton Park,” a Redditor posted alongside a picture of bare land.

Ontario Line clear cutting at ET Seton Park.
byu/TorontoBoris intoronto

Last year March, Metrolinx notified residents that work, including tree removal, was underway to deliver the long-awaited Ontario Line, a new 15.6-kilometre subway line that will run from the Ontario Science Centre to Exhibition Place, with 15 stations along the way.

It’s estimated that 2,787 trees are being removed in the areas surrounding the future route of the Ontario Line, from the Don Valley crossing, the Walmsley Brook crossing, and the West Don crossing—this in order to create space to relocate utilities and study ground conditions where a new bridge will carry subway trains across the valley and through the northern part of the line.

“Of these trees, 456 are invasive and 229 are pest or disease-prone. Some remaining trees and vegetation in these areas will also be pruned,” Metrolinx stated in a community notice last March.

Still, the clear-cutting has some Redditors divided.

“Build that transit! This is tiny amount of trees relative to how many the city has and worth the huge environmental benefits the subway will bring,” one Redditor noted under Tuesday’s post. While another Redditor wasn’t as optimistic.

“I get it but am still very discouraged about this. Trees take decades if not a century or more to mature. Cutting them down, let alone a full clear cut, should be a completely last resort. I’d rather they buldoze some building and replace them than take out trees. Not that cutting trees should be forbiden but it should be closer to an amputation. A last resort when all other options are impractical.”

Another noted that—although they aren’t pro-clear-cutting, they understand that this was the plan all along.

“In their environmental impact plan, they showed the area beside the archery being chunked as it cuts down and then going west… IIRC so they can use the existing electrical line corridor. The only thing we can hope is that they replant and appropriately repopulate the areas they’ve cut, which might be a high hope for Metrolinx.”

Metrolinx notes that the Ontario Line will have many benefits, such as providing more than 40 connections to other transit, including the GO train, subway, LRT, streetcars, and bus lines. It will take less than 30 minutes to get from one end of the line to the other, leading to 28,000 fewer cars on the road each day. It will reportedly reduce 14,000 tonnes in yearly greenhouse gas emissions and yearly fuel consumption will be reduced by 7.2 million litres.

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