Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff College Park resident Laura Brouwer inspects a broken tree trunk – one of hundreds left on the east side of the Red Deer subdivision after a developer had the trees levelled last week.

Red Deer’s College Park neighbourhood is outraged that hundreds of trees were levelled

City issues stop work order to Laebon Homes

The City of Red Deer issued a stop work order against a local developer who had hundreds of trees levelled, outraging College Park residents.

The forest belt was supposed to remain standing, said homeowners’ association spokesman Bruce Olson, who was alarmed to hear the sound of tree trunks breaking and falling while out walking his dog Friday morning.

He discovered a contractor, working for Red Deer’s Laebon Homes, was using heavy equipment to push over dozens of dogwoods, poplars, spruce and native shrubs.

The mature trees were on land owned by Laebon and destined to become another phase in the Timberstone development. But residents of College Park had fought — and won — the right to have a treed conservation easement left between their secluded neighbourhood and Timberstone when they attended city-led meetings on the neighbourhood area structure plan.

Olson, who attended the emotional meetings more than a decade ago, was dismayed. He recalled running up to one of the equipment operators and trying to explain that the trees were to remain.

“I said, ‘I can run into the house right now and provide you with proof,’ but he said, ‘no, we have to do this.’”

Olson rushed to call the city, but feels the damage is done. By the time a city inspector arrived a short while later, nearly all the trees were felled in the half-acre strand.

The only recourse now is for College Park residents to have a say in what is done to atone for the loss, he believes.

Konrad Dunbar, engineering services manager for the city, said he was not made aware in advance that any trees were going to be removed.

A stop work order was issued to the developer, so city investigators could get out there to examine the scope of the tree loss, he added.

If the development permit was breached, Dunbar said the city has options it can pursue. But first, the city needs to establish whether the agreement was broken.

“The idea was to leave a buffer there,” said Dunbar, and there are still a few large trees left standing. The city will have to examine the wording of the agreement to determine how to proceed, he added.

Steve Bontje, managing partner of Laebon Homes, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

But College Park residents were expressing their anger and sadness.

“My heart sank when I saw it,” said Laura Brouwer, who returned from holidays to observe the trees gone at the edge of her yard.

“That’s why we purchased this home four years ago, because it felt like you weren’t in the city. Now… it defeats why we wanted to live here … it takes away from the feel of the whole avenue.”

When her neighbour, Tom Mansell, bought his house five years ago, he was told everything had been worked out between the developer and residents a decade ago: “I was told the trees would stand where they were…

“My wife is very upset about this, but I am angry,” he added.

The neighbours will discuss whether a berm and fence, or replanting is possible, but several noted it’s not just a loss of privacy they are mourning, but a loss of beauty.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

red deer city

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Piles of broken tree trunks remain on the east side of College Park. The Red Deer developer who had the trees removed was issued a stop work order by the City of Red Deer, which is investigating. (PHoto by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Just Posted

Alberta Health Services' central zone jumped from 162 active COVID-19 cases to 178 on Friday. Five additional deaths were reported provincewide, bringing the toll to 323. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
622 new COVID-19 cases set another daily high Friday

Province confirmed 622 additional cases Friday

Advocate file photo
Man awaiting murder trial facing two new trials for breaching release conditions

Quentin Strawberry going to trial in March in connection with 2019 murder

Ecole La Prairie students and teachers dressed up in Halloween costumes and paraded by Barrett Kiwanis Place, while waving at the building’s residents in Red Deer on Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Ecole La Prairie students parade in Halloween costumes for Red Deer seniors

Dozens of Red Deer students put on their Halloween costumes to spread… Continue reading

Advocate file photo
Preliminary hearing set for Walmart shooting suspect

Chase Freed facing second-degree murder and attempted murder charges

Truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu walks into the Kerry Vickar Centre for his sentencing in Melfort, Sask., Friday, March 22, 2019. nbsp;A lawyer representing the truck driver responsible for the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus collision says he wants to stay in Canada once released from prison. nbsp; THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis
Truck driver responsible for Humboldt Broncos crash seeks to stay in Canada

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to multiple charges

Canada Artistic Swimming plans to ‘rip off the band-aid’ to create better environment

Canada Artistic Swimming plans to ‘rip off the band-aid’ to create better environment

North Carolina's Myles Dorn (1) celebrates a big stop with teammate Patrice Rene (5) during the first quarter of the team's NCAA college football game against Miami in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. Canadian Rene appears set to return to North Carolina's lineup in time for the No. 15 Tarheels' rivalry game against Virginia and a potential all-Canadian showdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Chris Seward
Canadian Patrice Rene appears set to return to North Carolina’s lineup after injury

Canadian Patrice Rene appears set to return to North Carolina’s lineup after injury

Regina Pats defenceman Cale Fleury (4) tries to clear OHL Hamilton Bulldogs forward Nicholas Caamano (10) from in front of the net during third period Memorial Cup semifinal action in Regina on Friday, May, 25, 2018. The Ontario Hockey League will not have bodychecking this coming season. Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's minister of sport, confirmed the decision on Friday afternoon.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
MacLeod: No bodychecking allowed in upcoming Ontario Hockey League season

MacLeod: No bodychecking allowed in upcoming Ontario Hockey League season

Colorado Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz (39) makes the save on Minnesota Wild's Alex Galchenyuk (27) during third period NHL exhibition game action in Edmonton, on Wednesday July 29, 2020. Galchenyuk says his new team is getting a motivated player with something to prove. The forward signed a one-year, US$1.05-million contract with the Ottawa Senators in free agency earlier this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alex Galchenyuk eager for fresh start with Senators: ‘I have a lot to prove’

Alex Galchenyuk eager for fresh start with Senators: ‘I have a lot to prove’

Bayern's Alphonso Davies, right, challenges PSG's Thilo Kehrer, left, during the Champions League final soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. Canadians Alphonso Davies, Will Johnson, Pat Onstad and Dwayne De Rosario are among the 134 finalists for Major League Soccer's "25 Greatest" players. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Miguel A. Lopes/Pool
Davies, DeRo join Beckham, Giovinco and others as finalists for MLS’ ‘25 Greatest’

Davies, DeRo join Beckham, Giovinco and others as finalists for MLS’ ‘25 Greatest’

Michael Jordan’s NASCAR team partners with Gibbs, Toyota

Michael Jordan’s NASCAR team partners with Gibbs, Toyota

Canadian junior men’s finalist Krats gets call to fill in on Team Gushue

Canadian junior men’s finalist Krats gets call to fill in on Team Gushue

FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, file photo, Detroit Lions strong safety Duron Harmon (26), cornerback Darryl Roberts (29) and safety Jayron Kearse (42) review plays with defensive backs coach Steve Gregory and defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, right, on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla. The NFL is recommending that players on the sidelines who are not participating in a game or about to go on the field wear protective masks, according to a league management council memo obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Although the NFL stopped short of mandating masks for all players not on the field, it “strongly encouraged” all active players in the bench area who are not about to enter the game to wear masks while standing on the sideline and/or sitting on the bench. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
NFL recommends some sideline players wear masks during games

NFL recommends some sideline players wear masks during games

Most Read