White Rock will not remove second Empress tree at Memorial Park

City hired independent arborist to draft plan to save tree

After further review, the City of White Rock announced that it will no longer have to remove a second Empress tree from the waterfront, adjacent to the ongoing upgrade of memorial park.

Last month, the city said the tree had to be removed after arborists had discovered the tree is “in decline,” and, due to extensive root damage, is likely to fall on the BNSF tracks when the current slope-retaining wall is removed as part of the park-upgrade project.

However, the city posted a statement on its website Friday, announcing that the tree will no longer need to be removed. The city’s statement says it hired an independent arborist to investigate the tree “after hearing concerns raised as to whether or not there was a potential to save the second Empress Tree.”

The independent arborist noted that to save the tree, the city would need to keep the current retaining wall.

According to the statement, the arbortist also outlined other measures to retain the tree, such as using cables to anchor the tree into secure devices installed in the ground, monitoring decay, trimming exposed roots, and doing follow-up tests one year later to determine if the decayed area is expanding within the stem of the tree.

“The Arborist also noted that despite best efforts, the tree may continue to decline and die within the next few years,” the statement said.

“The City recognizes that this tree is of great importance to many residents in White Rock and will be using best efforts to provide it with care and attention.”

A first Empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa) in the park was cut down in February, after city arborists discovered that its lack of strong, deep roots would make it impossible to relocate.

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