Hollow Tree blockade is on, says author

A Vancouver author and heritage advocate has told the Straight he is willing to put his body on the line to prevent the bulldozing of Stanley Park's famous Hollow Tree.

“Definitely,” Bruce Macdonald said in response to questions relating to civil disobedience. “We are going to save it in a natural state and we know we can save it. Once we get the media and the public involved, we know we will do it, although you may want to direct people to our Web site [www.savethehollowtree.com/ ] in case we wind up in jail.”

Macdonald and the group he cofounded, Friends of the Hollow Tree, are asking that people come to a rally at the tree on Sunday (June 22) at 2 p.m.

Macdonald, who wrote the book Vancouver: A Visual History (Talonbooks, 1992), said he was originally concerned about the Hollow Tree when National Geographic did a cover story on Stanley Park in 1992. Now the
NPA-dominated park board is sticking to a decision to cut it down, and Macdonald said this makes him furious.

“The public is 100-percent in favour of saving it,” Macdonald added. “The public was misinformed by the park board, initially.”

On March 31, the park board voted 6–0 in favour of cutting the tree down because it had become a “public safety concern”, according to park board minutes from the meeting. However, COPE commissioner Spencer Herbert moved a motion of reconsideration on June 9, after working with the Vancouver Heritage Commission to come up with a solution to save the iconic tree in as natural a state as possible. The motion was defeated 4–2, with independant commissioner Allan De Genova and Herbert in favour. (COPE commissioner Loretta Woodcock was absent.) NPA commissioners Marty Zlotnik, Ian Robertson, Heather Holden, and board chair Korina Houghton were opposed.

Houghton told the Straight she stands by her party's position, adding that she would like to see the tree dealt with “before July long weekend”.

“I hope they don't tie themselves up to it,” Houghton said of Macdonald's group. “That is just something we will have to cross when we come to it. It [disposal] will be done safely and properly, of course, because you don't want to have a whole whack of people around when you have cutting machinery around.”