Stanley Park's hollow tree gets the axe

One of Vancouver's oldest treasures will soon be cut down but its legacy as a tourist attraction will live on.

One of Vancouver's oldest treasures will soon be cut down but its legacy as a tourist attraction will live on.

Stanley Park's iconic hollow tree will soon be cut down over fears it might topple. ((CBC))

On Monday evening, the Vancouver Park Board voted to cut down the hollow tree on Park Drive in Stanley Park.

The 13-metre-tall stump is at least 700 years old, but storm damage in recent years has caused its decomposing hollow trunk to tilt dangerously.

The trunk, which is 20 metres in circumference, is held up by cables, and the surrounding parking lot has been fenced off to keep the public from approaching while the park board investigated ways to permanently secure the tree.

Commissioner Allan de Genova said during the meeting the board had examined all options to save the tree, but public safety was the final concern.

"I just really wanted a few moments to see if there was perhaps another way we could expand on this and see where we're at. But, as the report indicates, the safety factor is the biggest concern here," said de Genova.

The hollow tree in Vancouver's Stanley Park has been a popular place to be photographed for generations. ((CBC))

The decision caused spectators at the meeting to heckle the board after the vote, with many saying other options should have been given more consideration.

Bruce MacDonald said the tree could be left as it is and given structural upgrades, and accused the board of not protecting the park.

"So they just say, 'OK, we're voting to tear her down.' They don't care," said MacDonald.

Commissioner Ian Robertson said it was a "very difficult decision for the board to make," but it had to act because the tree could fall and crush people.

All is not over for the iconic tree, which has become one of the most photographed in the world.

According to the park board plan, it will live on as a tourist attraction. After it is cut down, it will be placed on its side and split in two to make a tree tunnel for visitors.