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Old tree in Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens removed for public safety

     The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) removed an Old and Valuable Tree (OVT) that was found to be at potential risk of collapse from the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens (HKZBG) in Central and Western District for public safety today (September 24).

     The tree, a 16-metre-tall Putranjiva roxburghii, was located at the Fountain Terrace Garden of the HKZBG on Albany Road in Central. It was managed by the LCSD and listed on the Register of OVTs with registration number LCSD CW/67.

     A spokesman for the LCSD said that the department had all along closely monitored the tree and carried out regular inspection and maintenance. The tree's overall health condition had been acceptable. During an inspection by the department on September 15 before the passage of Typhoon Kalmaegi, a crack 40 centimetres long was found between the two main trunks of the tree, indicating that the tree was in an unsatisfactory structural condition and at risk of collapse. To ensure the safety of park visitors, the department immediately cordoned off the surrounding access and notified the Tree Management Office (TMO) of the Development Bureau of the situation.

     Upon a post-typhoon on-site inspection on September 16 and subsequent consultation with the Expert Panel on Tree Management, the TMO confirmed that the structural condition of the tree was severely poor and at risk of collapse and agreed to the urgent removal of the tree for the sake of public safety. The removal works were completed today.

     The spokesman said that the department would continue to adopt a prudent approach in inspecting and managing trees under its care. Removal of problematic trees will be undertaken only when no other viable risk reduction option is available.

Ends/Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Issued at HKT 15:30


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