Pine trees cut to give way to SM Baguio's 'sky park'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 17 2015 09:23 PM | Updated as of Jan 18 2015 05:23 AM

Photo courtesy of Diane Rivera, ABS-CBN News North Luzon

BAGUIO CITY -- Residents of Baguio City were surprised after 60 pine trees were cut down in the area behind SM City Baguio to pave way for its new seven-storey "sky park" project.

According to witnesses, around 100 laborers started cutting trees behind the mall building around midnight Saturday, without using any heavy equipment.

In an official statement issued by SM City Baguio, it said that the temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) was lifted on December 2014.

The mall management added that their sky park will feature green facilities that will help absorb the impact of climate change.

"A Sky Park, which features green walls consisting of live plants will help improve air quality, making the mall both relaxing and enjoyable for the whole family. It also consists of a sewerage treatment plant (STP), and an underground rainwater catchment tank in the basement. The excess space of catchment tank will provide many additional parking space-will help decongest traffic along Upper Session Road," SM City Baguio said in the statement.

The mall has also secured final approval, as well as necessary permits for the project.

"Prior to this, inputs from various community groups have been gathered and considered to help put this project together," company added.

In 2012, residents and other groups launched a protest against the mall management for cutting trees in Luneta Hill.

The Court of Appeals issued a temporary environmental protection order on April 10, 2012. -- report from Diane Rivera, ABS-CBN News North Luzon