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Oak Bay residents bid farewell to iconic Beach Drive tree

The oak, which leans over the sidewalk on Beach Drive near Oak Bay Marina, will be removed on Wednesday, according to a notice posted by the district

About 30 people gathered on Oak Bay’s Beach Drive Monday afternoon to say goodbye to a large oak tree set to be cut down this week.

The tree, which leans over the sidewalk on Beach Drive near Oak Bay Marina, will be removed on Wednesday, according to a notice posted by the district.

The roots are hollow, the angle of the tree has increased and it is in the process of failing, the notice says.

The impending removal of the tree has spurred residents to leave notes and poems to the tree in its hollow.

One note addressed to “Dear old friend” says the note-writer touched the tree as they passed by each day. “You have touched my soul deeply… Our walks will not be quite the same,” it says.

A group that gathered Monday to say goodbye observed a moment of silence before sharing parting words and joining hands around the tree.

Coun. Hazel Braithwaite is hoping the district will put something in the tree’s place as a tribute to the “iconic” oak, such as a new tree or turning the stump into a seat.

Some groups and schools have expressed interest in using the wood from the tree and the district will work with those interested to distribute pieces, she said.

“If it can live on in school projects, it can continue bringing joy to people,” Braithwaite said.

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