Measures were in place to mitigate the effects of tree cutting on birds and animals in the area, Wilkinson said.
Cutting can only be conducted until April 15, the councillor said, to avoid the nesting season of birds in the area.
If tree cutting didn't happen before the deadline for bird nesting season, there would be no way for the school to be built in time for kids to attend in September of 2015, Wilkinson said.
That tree-cutting deadline is needed to comply with the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act, Snedden wrote. In addition, KNL was asked to follow the tree-removal protocol followed by the city's forestry department. That procedure involves tree inspectors searching for evidence of animal use or habitat, which is shared with tree-cutting crews, who do a second inspection of flagged trees to see if animals are present. If there is an animal in the tree, the tree is not disturbed and the crew returns to remove it once the animal has moved on. Nesting boxes were placed around the area to lure animals such as squirrels out from trees.
A similar policy is being considered for the wildlife construction policy the city committed to drafting as part of an update to its wildlife management strategy last year.
City staff conducted surveys to identify areas where trees and wildlife habitats were to be retained, Snedden said. They also monitored cutting to ensure the removals complied with the urban tree conservation bylaw.
Snedden said Blanding's turtles are still hibernating at this time of year based on population monitoring data. Wilkinson said KNL Developments has a certificate from the province allowing it to go ahead with work because the area isn't part of the main habitat of the protected Blanding's turtles. If turtles are found, they must be protected and removed from the area, Wilkinson said.