Local school appeals to city to save trees

Junior Academy has appealed to the city to save about a dozen trees that will be lost if it’s forced to erect an eight-foot masonry wall along its north and western borders.

As required by a 2006 OMB decision, the fence is meant to give neighbours privacy and minimize noise.

Principal Dianne Johnson said that the private school was prepared to comply fully until it realized what the impact would be.

“If those trees come down, it’ll really be quite awful,” she said.

Junior Academy is proposing a wood fence of the same height as a compromise.

The pier footings for a wood fence are half the size of those needed for a masonry wall, which would allow the trees to be saved, said Johnson.

She feels it would also be at least equally effective in fulfilling the goals of privacy and noise reduction. 

Junior Academy was required to have a masonry wall put in by the end of last year.

The school recently submitted new drawings to the city, outlining what would happen if it went with the masonry wall and what would happen if it went with the wood fence.

Marva Gragtmans, a Junior Academy parent, would like to see  the wood fence proposal suceed. She said she believes that the natural barrier provided by the trees is far more effective than anything that can be built, such as a wall.

“Why we would do something unnecessary, like taking down trees to put up a brick wall when, in fact, it runs contrary to the purpose, which would be to block noise and sound, is illogical to me,” she said.

Coun. Cliff Jenkins said that lots of trees have already been lost with the school going in.

“I’d like to save the trees and I’d like to find a fence solution that works for everybody,” said Jenkins.

Urban forestry has provided comments to the planning department indicating that it’s not happy with the loss of trees that would result from a masonry wall but the city has yet to issue Junior Academy a formal response.

If neighbours don’t feel that a wood fence would sufficiently address their concerns, the matter could potentially go back to the OMB.

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