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Trinity Bellwoods Park is seen in this file photo.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The death of a man who was struck by a falling tree limb in Trinity Bellwoods Park on Friday has drawn attention to the way the city evaluates trees, with critics calling the incident "completely preventable."

The man, a 30-year-old French citizen, was sitting with his family under a tree near the entrance of the park on Queen Street West when he was hit and knocked unconscious.

Andrew Baughn, an arborist certified with the International Society of Arboriculture, said he and his family urged the city last year to carry out more tree inspections in Trinity Bellwoods Park and had warned that the park posed a significant risk to the public.

"I sent an e-mail to the mayor. I sent an email to Urban Forestry. There was another tree that fell and almost struck me and my son near the kids playground, and I sent an email to [Urban Forestry Operations], and their representative came back and said 'I personally inspected the trees in that area and I deemed them all safe,' and I said 'Well, why did this one almost land on my head?' " he said. "For being in such a high-traffic park, [the trees] are not excellent. They need maintenance."

Parks officials, which had responded to the complaint on behalf of Mayor John Tory according to the mayor's office, defended the way the city handles inspections, arguing that around 150,000 trees are evaluated each year as part of a "rigorous" assessment program.

"There's a likelihood that if the park was raised as an issue by a member of the public, it would have been at the top our list," Matthew Cutler said. "We pro-actively inspect and maintain our trees across the city on a routine basis."

In a Facebook post from June of last year in which he describes the incident, Mr. Baughn, who said he had been documenting the condition of trees in Trinity Bellwoods, wrote "What will it take for the city to change its policy? Someone to die from negligent tree care?" His mother, Anne, sent a similar message about the park to Mr. Tory, writing in an email "I hope someone doesn't have to die before they pay attention to the sick trees."

To avoid another tragedy, the city, he said, should beef up its inspections and take a more "proactive" approach to tree maintenance. Instead of simply picking up fallen tree branches, teams of arborists, he said, should regularly inspect the most visited areas in public parks to ensure that trees suffering from structural defects are quickly assessed.

"The city's subcontract goes to the lowest bidder, and the lowest bidder only does 'reactive' maintenance. They're not out there looking for danger or hazards," he said. "There's a million other parks in cities around the world where they have arborists doing this kind of work. For some reason the city of Toronto is too cheap to do it."

Jose Rubio Lazo, another certified arborist, agreed that the city needs to do more.

"It was not a heavy wind. It was not an ice storm. There was no reason for the branch to fall on its own unless the tree was broken already." he said.