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Nov. 25, 2020 | Wednesday
Local News
Trees cut to make way for nursery school
Trees were cut down May 29 at the NOTL Community Centre. Each removed tree will be replaced, said Lord Mayor Betty Disero. (Richard Harley)

The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has removed several trees near the community centre to make room for the expanded Niagara Nursery School project.

In total, seven trees were cut down, and another 10 were spaded out and five of those were replanted on the property.

Most were “relocated on-site and a couple went to other town properties,” said Kevin Turcotte, the town's interim director of operations. "New trees were planted on-site at the community centre property," he said.

Town staff “made every effort to save as many trees as possible” and are “keeping an eye on the trees that have been spaded out and planted to ensure their success,” Turcotte said.

Lord Mayor Betty Disero said the expanded nursery school will be “a valuable school for the community.”

 “There have been a couple of new trees planted and it is our intention to replace all and more of the trees cut, in line with the requirement of the town tree bylaw. We will look to the tree fund to be able to supplement even further the size of the trees so they are significant,” Disero said.

“As mentioned in all our discussions, the tree bylaw requires replacement of trees if they are removed. This allows the NOTL canopy to remain strong and vibrant. We will do that.”

Construction on the new expansion is supposed to start this summer, Turcotte said.

The $1.5 million project was approved by the town last June. 

The 4,300-square-foot facility will include an infant playroom with a kitchenette and a separate sleeping area, a toddler playroom, a preschool playroom with adjacent washrooms and changing rooms, and a school-aged room, as well as office and storage space.

Once complete, the new nursery school will accommodate about 69 children, nearly double the current facility's capacity.

NOTL resident Pauline Speers said she doesn’t think the nursery school expansion is needed, at the expense of the open land where she enjoys walking.

“Basically, it’s raping an environment that is already very healthy and beautiful, when there’s an alternate place for people to send their kids around the corner” in the community centre.

She said when she saw trees wrapped a few weeks ago, she phoned the town and asked if they would be cut down. She said she was told the town couldn’t answer the question at the time.

“I was told they couldn’t answer this right now, you’ll have to talk to the appropriate person.”

When she asked to talk to that person, she was told they weren’t at their desk.

“It’s avoidance,” she said.

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