Destroying to Create

By Victoria Blinkhorn

In order to create homes for new residents from essentially greenfield land, you must destroy. In Grandview Heights, around the area of 164th Ave between 26th and 28th Ave, it has been a nearly two year process for six acreages not within a Neighbourhood Concept Plan Area (an area with a City-approved land use plan created with public consultation) to go through the development application process. On January 12, 2015 the clearing of the land began and soon the creation of new homes will rise in “Morgan Crest.”

We look forward to welcoming new families into our transforming neighbourhood. The builder is reputable so the new homes are likely going to be lovely.

For many residents, the shock that inevitably accompanies the clearing of green lands, is palpable for those who loved the greenspace that once existed. We miss the nocturnal call of the owl and birdsong of hundreds whose homes were bulldozed.  Those neighbours most directly affected will miss the shade of the whispering trees in the summer breeze and the little creatures they harboured.  It is good to remember what was there before and for neighbours concerned about their recently stripped side and/or backyards, it is also important to know that there is a re-planting scheme to contribute to a buffer that they once enjoyed in the form of natural, albeit overgrown woodlands. At the bottom of this blog are links to the development application process for Morgan Crest as well as to tree retention and re-planting diagrams.

The camera lens is the writer of this blog as it shows some “before and afters” to date.

The first image to set the stage for reference is courtesy Google Earth, summer 2014. The red-bordered land (#1)  is Morgan Crest, the blue #2 to its north a recently-approved extension to the original infill, and #3 a one acre lot whose development application is inevitable. All the trees on property #2 are being removed save two.

infill google earth


summer 2014 tele pole

BEFORE: Fall 2014, view eastwards from 164th with telephone pole as reference

Feb 2015 tele pole

AFTER: same spot, during the one week tree-removal period, Jan 12- 20 2015

north view 164 Dec

BEFORE: looking north on 164th at 26th Ave, note telephone pole in foreground as reference, December 2014

north view 174 feb

AFTER: same location, two weeks after site preparation began. Many conifers in the background (to the north) will be removed when development #2 progresses. Surveyors are already on that property.

south face chen pole

BEFORE: Summer 2014, courtesy Google Earth. Looking south on 164th. You can barely see the home at the corner of 164th/26th in top right hand corner by telephone pole









south chen pole after

AFTER: same location, February 2015. You can clearly see the house now above the profile of the yellow machinery. Because the angle of the shot is not exactly replicated, the large conifer in the centre of the “Before” picture is the one at the top right hand side of this one, to the left of the machine.

wolff summer 2014 copy

BEFORE: in front of 2737 164th, summer 2014.

wolff 1

DURING: same location, a few days into the clearing in January 2015. Note the red arrow which points to a house on 165th St which was hidden by the trees in above photo.

Wolff 2

DURING: next day. No need for an arrow: there is the house.

wolff 3

AFTER: same house,after the clearing and before the road work begins

From a different angle, here is a view of the part of the development from the south.

jan 12 cropped sm

January 12, 2015






jan 20 cropped sm

January 20, 2015. Admittedly not as spectacular as a summer view would have been. Note: the distant trees to the right of the large centre conifer (not on the development property) will be removed when the approved development on 28th Ave (#2) begins.

If other GHSA members have their own “before and after photos”, please feel free to send them in to complete the record.

Other documentation behind the genesis of Morgan Crest and the next two annexed development acreages on 28th Ave:


Development Application 7913-0226

Member blog opinion about Application 7913-0226

Application 7913-0226 (Morgan Crest) tree removal plan

Application 7913-0226 tree re-planting plan

The continuation of the infill with Application 7914-0225

Member blog opinion about Application 7914-0225

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and are presented here by the GHSA to encourage healthy debate. The GHSA Blog exists as a resource to enable members concerned with the environmental and community stewardship of Grandview Heights to voice perspectives. When directors of the Association contribute to the blog, they do so as private citizens, not as officers representing the Association. The GHSA reserves the right to edit, condense or reject any contribution.