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Sidewalk heaves in Scarborough can injure you, Jim Karygiannis says

Tree roots raising slabs are a problem for city: councillor

  Scarborough Mirror May 10, 2017 Mike Adler

Is that Norway Maple down the block, the one whose roots lifted the sidewalk up, a threat to your safety?

Could be, Jim Karygiannis says, since tripping on raised sidewalk slabs could injure you.

“Some of them are very dangerous,” the Scarborough-Agincourt councillor said this week.

Toronto’s transportation department found around 8,000 “discontinuities” — elevations of 20 millimetres or more — on Scarborough sidewalks last year.

Something like 40 per cent “were located in the immediate vicinity of trees,” added a report to Scarborough Community Council this month, noting often “one is left with the impression” trees are responsible.

What to do?

Staff suggested installing “root deflectors or barriers” around sidewalks, using reinforced or thicker sidewalk slabs next to trees, or planting trees further away.

Karygiannis insisted he’s not crusading to cut trees down, but years ago a “close member of my family” slipped on a frozen puddle created by such a sidewalk heave and broke a leg.

He also wonders how many people tripped and sued the city, claiming negligence, over sidewalk injuries.

Staff don’t know, so the matter will wait, probably until November, for the figures.


Karygiannis said he tried to make this a city-wide issue at Toronto council.

“Other councillors laughed at it,” he said.

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