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Grow Up! Toronto
Grow Up! Toronto
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Scarborough, ON, CA
Climate zone:
Cool Temperate

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Grow Up! Toronto

Grow Up! Toronto

Scarborough, CA

Dietmar Benedetti Huseyin Aydin

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Project: Grow Up! Toronto

Posted by Deborah Dale over 9 years ago

Toronto, after issuing an apology and a promise to cease further action against my property, once again attempted to force the cutting of my native plant garden only months after settling a lawsuit on the issue.

Shortly before Christmas in 2013 city staff offered a settlement which included a written apology and a promise to cease further actions against my property, providing that the garden did not substantially change.  Despite that promise, the city attempted in August 2014 to charge the boulevard portion of my garden under the city's street bylaw -- which specifically allows soft landscaping. 

The printed form initially used (and frequently issued) incorrectly stated that landscaping must be maintained below 20cm (8 inches) -- the city's limit for lawn grass and weeds.  When I protested that, they countered with a demand that all landscaping be cut back 0.5m from sidewalks and roadway...which would eliminate the boulevard and a substantial portion of my front garden.  The streets bylaw specifically allows "encroachments" of soft landscaping without any setback requirements.  Failing in that, they attempted to limit plant height using the gutter rather than drivers sightline as a baseline.  Given that site disturbance and the loss of two street trees to Emerald Ash Borer encouraged most of the boulevard to be overtaken by native sweetgrass, most of the garden was well below even the city's inaccurate height restriction. 

As of snowfall no further action has been taken by the city but obviously, they still don't understand the value of native plants and biodiversity in urban environments.  Numerous ecologically oriented gardens throughout Toronto, and those municipalities that blindly follow their example, continue to be threatened by staff and Councillors who persist in their personal belief that only bland turf grass is "normal" or legal.

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Meghan Craig
Meghan Craig : I hope they do no further damage. Please keep me posted. I have family in T.O. I am an hour north in Thornton. I also have a boulevard I would like to plant or soft plant as you call it. Is that a legal term with specific criteria or is it just a figure of speech? Love some spring photos when all the whiteness has gone.
Posted over 9 years ago

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