Heavy equipment lies idle along Homestead Drive in Mount Hope after the city issued a stop-work order to a local developer for chopping down dozens of trees without a permit.
The order, dated Aug. 10, says Sonoma Homes must immediately stop taking down trees on city-owned property at eight lots along the road.
Staring at the ragged line of stumps that now surrounds her home, Lindsay Farquhar said it may have come too late.
“We’re smack-dab in the middle of chaos,” she said. “This is disgusting.”
Farquhar and her family have lived on Homestead Drive for nine years. They came back from vacation at the beginning of the month and noticed crews taking down trees at a home down the road.
As the days came by, Farquhar said the workers didn’t stop. And they kept getting closer.
When they started clear-cutting around another house, she and her neighbours decided to find out what was going on.
“This is Homestead Drive, the old part of town,” Farquhar explained. “We came here for the green, the trees, the country feel.”
They learned Sonoma had purchased the property around her home and watched as decades-old trees between her home and Upper James Street were buzzsawed into wood chips and piles of brush.
The home builder did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Under the bylaw, corporations that are first time offenders when it comes to cutting down trees on public property can face a maximum fine of $50,000 or $5,000 per damaged tree. Special fines, which can top $100,000 can also be laid to eliminate the “economic advantage” of breaking the bylaw.
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