Thursday, October 20, 2016, 4:23 PM - Toronto developer Format Group is paying just over $155,000 in fines in the first phase of an investigation after illegally removing 40 mature trees, many of them over 100 years old, in a North York neighbourhood back in July. However, city councillor Jaye Robinson says the punishment is insufficient and issuing a maximum of $100,000 per tree would send a better message to other developers. "Given that this is one of most significant violations of the tree bylaws to date, the results of the first phase of the investigation seem like a slap on the wrist and business as usual for these developers," Robinson told CBC. The total fee of $155,064 includes the planting of 200 new trees to help restore the city's canopy. Robinson told CBC her office was inundated with calls during the July long week from angry residents living in the Bayview Ridge area where the trees were cut down. "Some of the trees were over 100 years old, one of which was apparently 150-years-old, the same age as our nation, a linden tree," she told CBC. "These trees were iconic, really a part of the character of the neighbourhood." Sina Saedin of Format Group told the CBC in July the company needed to clear the land to make room for new townhouse development and the necessary permits were acquired. However, it was determined the trees were cut down without the city's permission. Format Group is not yet in the clear. City staff may pursue legal action against the developer at the provincial level under the Municipal Code and Provincial Offenses Act. The developer's actions in July have motivated Robinson to launch a campaign, which includes increasing fines and the suspension of building permits for developers who illegally remove flora. The motion was approved by the city's parks and environment committee Wednesday morning.