Council and staff have received numerous inquiries from residents about trees that have been removed along Ridout Street and Lakeshore Road. Below is a review of the project details.

The tree removal is part of the Lakeshore Road Reconstruction Project, an undertaking that is a critical expansion and one that will have a significant impact on the ability for residents to safely walk on a sidewalk rather than on the side of the road. This has long been a request advocated by many residents over time.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, construction projects and services are still considered essential if they are required to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or to provide new capacity in, critical provincial infrastructure; including transit, transportation, energy, and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance. As such, there are several municipal projects that are identified in the 2020 budget that will continue, with extra precautions in place, per the guidelines outlined by the Province. The reconstruction of Lakeshore Road is one of these projects. Information about the continued work on this project and other municipal activities and maintenance was communicated in the COVID-19 Update #10.

The work being done on Lakeshore Road is considered a full reconstruction project and the work includes the replacement of the existing watermain and sanitary sewer, the installation of a new storm sewer to improve drainage and of course new asphalt and curb. It should be noted that this project is not specifically related to the Penryn Mason Homes development.

The public consultation process for this project began in 2018, which included two public meetings and a publicly attended site walk with an arborist to review every tree. Based on public feedback, the design was amended to have sidewalk on only one side instead of both sides, and the alignment was shifted to prevent the removal of as many trees as possible. There were also trees that were identified as being in poor condition and deemed hazardous to public safety.

Approximately nine trees were identified for removal to advance the project forward and of those, four have been removed due to poor condition and in the interest of public safety. To compensate for the tree loss, 7 large deciduous trees, 19 medium deciduous trees, 9 small deciduous trees, as well as 80 perennials will be planted as part of the project.

Council and staff are certainly conscious and mindful of the importance of trees in our community. From the outset, they have ensured that community engagement and consultation with industry experts has been incorporated into the final design and plans for the Lakeshore reconstruction.

Inquiries about the Lakeshore Reconstruction Project can be forwarded to Jeanette Davidson, Director of Works and Engineering, jdavidson@porthope.ca.