A developer has agreed to compensate the Town of Sylvan Lake for trees and bushes inadvertently chopped down during land clearing.
The problem came to the town’s attention in March when it was discovered tree cutting and clearing for the proposed The Vista at Ryder’s Ridge subdivision had begun without the necessary permit.
A stop work order was put in place temporarily at the site being developed by Melcor on the east side of the town near Hwy 20.
Town staff then determined that trees had been taken down mistakenly on an area identified as future park space.
An arborist was called in and estimated 14 trees had likely been removed improperly and about 40 shrubs. They are worth around $25,000, says a report that went to council on Monday.
Guy Pelletier, Melcor Red Deer region vice-president, said work began on the development without a permit because there was some confusion about whether approval on the application, which had been submitted last fall, had been granted already.
“It was nothing intentional. It was just one of those things.”
Pelletier said they are still discussing with the town the best way to make compensation.
There are already plans to create some park space and that work will involve building trails and planting far more trees than were removed inadvertently.
The Vista will eventually have about 700 mostly single-family homes. The first lots will be available for purchase this fall.
Mayor Susan Samson said the incident shows the risk of starting work without all permits in place.
Samson said while the incident was unfortunate the problem is “not insurmountable.
“Melcor is an excellent company to work with and they’re certainly not shirking this whole thing.
“They are very concerned as well. It’s an error and they want to work with us to make it right.”