The contractor in charge of demolishing parts of Lansdowne Park is apologizing for cutting down trees on Holmwood Avenue without permission.

Several residents living next to the park said they were deeply angered and caught off-guard by the tree-cutting taking place for redevelopment on Tuesday.

Two people went as far as to chain their bicycles to barricades along Holmwood Avenue in protest.

"There were people in tears on the street this morning, it caught us like a punch in the stomach," sad one resident.

"I'd love them to start by tearing up the concrete instead of tearing up the trees" said another. "It seems to me when you want to rebuild a park, you don't start with a thing that makes a park, a park."

EllisDon said in a statement that the work was in their contract but they hadn't been fully authorized to do it yet..

"EllisDon would like to sincerely apologize for the inconvenience related to the tree removal work that took place on the morning on June 05, 2012," they said. "EllisDon mobilized on site as stipulated in our contract agreement but should not have executed any work until properly authorized to do so by the City representative.

"We only had good intention since the removals of those trees are part our mandate and could affect some critical milestone."

Michael Fitzpatrick, City of Ottawa media relations chief, said tree removal has always been a part of the plan in order to get rid of contaminated soil but this removal was premature.

"Earlier today the City halted the tree removal to ensure proper notification of all parties was undertaken," he said in a statement. "The City has made it clear that no activates are to begin on site until appropriate notification has taken place."

Fitzpatrick said about 60 trees will be removed to start clearing a path for moving the Horticulture Building, but there's a "detailed tree planting plan" for both Holmwood Avenue and the entire redevelopment.

Area councillor David Chernushenko said he's demanded residents are given 48 hours written notice before any future work is done.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Ellen Mauro