London’s historic St. Peter’s Seminary has been cleared to remove 125 trees from its site as part of a multi-million dollar restoration project.
The City had issued a stop-work order earlier this month after it learned St. Peter’s did not have a licence for tree removal, but 100 trees on the property had been cut anyway.
“We have determined that the tree removal that has occurred is consistent with the heritage alteration permit that was submitted by the Seminary and subsequently approved by the London Advisory Committee on Heritage and City Council,” said City Planner John Fleming.
“The Seminary has followed up with their required landscape plan showing extensive re-planting and has also acquired the necessary tree permit to move forward.”
Fleming says the City’s new Tree Protection By-law – established in August – created some confusion relating to all of the permits.
The Seminary and their consulting team have been working with staff and all permits relating to the four-year project are now in place.
Officials say a total of 125 trees will be removed to allow for the necessary extension of sanitary services, a new driveway to the building, a parking lot, and an enhanced vista to the heritage Seminary building from the street as required by the approved heritage alteration permit.
“The Seminary is dedicated to continuing its good stewardship of this land and, through its current renovation project, seeks to operate with greater environmental care in its use of resources and be more accessible and welcoming to all who participate in its programs of faith formation and preparation for ministry.
The $38 million restoration plan calls for a retention of more than two-thousand trees on the site and the Seminary will also plant almost 300 new trees.
St. Peter’s Seminary was founded in 1912 with the main building opening in 1926.