“Trees don’t just die, they are transformed,” Qualicum First Nation chief Michael Recalma said at a celebration of life Monday for a famous eagle resting tree on the Qualicum Beach waterfront.
An arborist’s report on the dead tree near The Beach Hut found just a narrow ring of solid wood left supporting it and recommended removing it.
“The tree essentially looks like a donut,” director of planning Luke Sales said referencing the report. “A significant amount of rot has travelled up this tree to a height of 15 to 20 metres,” which is most the tree.
Around 50 people showed up to help town council recognize the importance of the tree before it is cut down.
“I think showing this amount of sensitivity is a high point for this council,” mayor Teunis Westbroek told the assembly of well wishers and onlookers.
The tree is not a protected eagle nesting tree, but has been a landmark on the waterfront for decades, which councillor Anne Skipsey pointed out.
“This tree has actually played an important roll in my life,” she said, explaining that they could see it from her family home and she’s watched many eagles perch there throughout her life.
Her father, former mayor Art Skipsey said he’s been going to that beach for 80 years and joked that now he’s become a bald eagle himself, removing his hat to laughter.
“I’m a tree hugger and I just want to give it a hug,” one woman said at the end when Westbroek asked if anyone wanted to speak.
Staff and council are still working out the details of what might be left of the tree to memorialize it, or what to do with the wood.