Loss of trees at Parkview Church

I am writing to you regarding the loss of the trees at the Parkview Church as a result of the addition being put on the Parkview Church. These trees were set in place over 25 years ago, at council’s insistence to block the harsh and threatening factory-like wall which faces Marlborough Rd. At the time Parkview flooded the wall with high intensity lights and our next door neighbour of the time, who was a holocaust survivor – wouldn’t go outside and had continual nightmares – as the “church” reminded her of the concentration camp. Even after the council insisted Parkview lower the intensity of the lights and plant some saplings – they moved because the memories were too painful.
  Those of us who stuck it out and who have invested our lives here – both financially and emotionally, waited patiently for the trees to grow. In the last few years – they actually started to block the ugly wall across the way. When, we saw the original stakes being driving into the ground for construction is the first we became aware of the further encroachment of Parkview. I called pastor Duane McLean to find out what was going on and advised that the trees were planted at the city’s behest as a buffer to the neighbourhood. I further advised that if the stakes represented the outer limit of the foundation – then they would destroy the root system of the trees. He advised me that he too wanted to save the trees also – leaving me with the impression that something would be done to ensure the buffer remained.
  Then the bulldozers came in and took out half the root system. The next Tuesday, chainsaws took down in 1 morning what took nature 25 years to
grow. When the saws started I again called Mr. Mclean and was told that the
city came in – pronounced that the trees would fall over in a year and had to be removed – with half their root system gone – who’d have thought). I was also told that the property was Parkview’s and they could do as they pleased – as it is their property. Touche.
  I too have added to my property in the 31 years I have been on Marlborough, but have had the courtesy to advise my neighbours of the
changes I was making and tried to make the chages as non-intrusive as possible. Parkview, could have done this as well. Cut back their building by 5 feet and they would have saved the trees. Also, if they were R1B – they would have been forced to stay the extra 5′ back. -but they are zone “M”. But Parkview does not believe in compromising its building practices. Parkview has said it will replant trees, and I am sure when I am buried it will provide some form of buffer.
  I would invite you to view the site yourself. In fact if you are available tomorrow, Friday – it is best viewed at 1:30 P.M.
  In conclusion, I would like to congratulate you, Vicki and Ian on your
re-election (for issues such as this maybe condolensences may be more
fitting) – it is good to have a thinking council once again.           BE


What a surprise last Saturday to find two trees cut down and others (the maples) massacred on the Marlborough Road side of Parkside Pentecostal Church ! Then, to see the beginnings of a major addition that will bring a new extension so close to the remaining trees that their root structures on the inward side are having to be hacked away. How will they survive with a building directly abutting them. It is difficult to imagine how those beautiful mature maple trees will can remain anyway once the foundations are poured and the walls begin to go up immediately adjacent to the trees. Either holes will have to be cut into the new walls, or the trees will have to be felled at a later date once it becomes obvious to the neighbourhood that they have to go.

Obviously, all the proper permits were given, plans duly consideered at some level of Guelph’s Municipal Government. Why was there no notice whatsoever given to neighbours in this community? The existing structure is even less architecturally aesthetic that most Big Box Stores or Factories. It could double as either and, in fact, if ever sold that building could be easily adapted for either of those purposes.

Contrary to what many may believe, this is a relatively cohesive neighbourhood at a time when “community” is merely a jargon word representing a void in our individual and collective meaning. There are home owners here who have owned and lived in their houses for long periods of time. If the kinds of neighbourly inter-relationships have changed with our changing culture, people here still know their neighbours and do talk, look out for each other, and enjoy this area of the city.

Nothing will be changed now. However, I find it difficult to accept the ways some institutions are quietly and rapidly green-lighted to proceed with major construction which, were they in fact Big Box Stores or Factores, there would be many sessions involving community groups speaking to Council about their concerns. Instead, this is now a Big Box Store of Religion (competing with The Contemporary Religious Cathedral – Walmart). The place of our Society’s now-dominant Religion of Commodity-Consumerism has been well-documented for some decades by Sociologists and Social Anthropologists as well as the most Progressive Theologians.

And, while this Church’s Insurance apparently dis-allows the use of their parking lot by “outsiders”, apparently there will be no problem with directing traffic through it to the apartments now becoming inaccessible from the Emma Street construction. I hope there are no accidents for which the Church would then be liable nor difficulties with parents dropping of and picking up their children at the Day Care Facility.                              GH