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Unconvinced by assurances of the management of the SM City Baguio mall, hundreds of residents of the summer capital of the Philippines occupied sections of the city's Session Road Friday to protest the mall's redevelopment plan. The protesters, led by the Cordillera Ecological Center (CEC), claimed the mall expansion will involve the cutting down of 182 trees on Luneta Hill. online petition. However, the SM City Baguio management disputed the tree-cutting claim of those opposed to the mall expansion. “We are not cutting trees. Rather, we are going to ball out some trees carefully and have utilized recommended specialists for this activity who will replant them in designated areas within the SM property,” SM City Baguio said on Jan. 17 on its website. The mall also pointed out that the expansion has three salient features:“The SM Development Corp. is set to cut 43 fully-grown Alnus japonica trees while also intending to uproot 97 growing pine trees (Pinus kesiya) and 42 saplings virtually sentencing to death a total of 182 trees within the Luneta Hill area where SMDC is found to pave way for another parking lot,” the CEC said in its
- A new parking facility that will provide alternatives to street parking and, hopefully, help decongest the streets around the facility;
- A roof garden with trees and shrubs to cover the building footprint; and
- A rainwater collection system to help control water runoff in and around the property, while providing a secondary water source for the facility’s needs.