Under different circumstances, it could have been a tree climber’s paradise. With wires, bolts and scaffolding affixed to its thousand-year-old trunk, Stanley Park’s hollow tree looked like an active kid’s dream come true yesterday.
The reason for the apparatus was considerably less magical, however: Workers were preparing the tree to be cut down, strengthening the trunk to keep it from splintering.
Bruce Macdonald, a local author and heritage advocate, said the tree is an iconic symbol and cutting it down is clearly wrong.
“It’s not just a tree in the woods,” he said. “It’s listed as a heritage monument in the Vancouver heritage inventory.”
On March 31, the Vancouver Parks Board voted 6-0 in favour of chopping it, saying it was a “public safety concern” because it may topple.
Macdonald argues the tree just needs to have its foundation strengthened.
Instead, the park board plans to turn it on its side, cut it down its length and spread the halves so that visitors can walk through as it slowly rots over the years.
Parks board chairwoman Korina Houghton said the tree would be cut by the long weekend, though workers yesterday said it could take a couple weeks to fully prepare the tree.