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Massive tree falls in Beacon Hill Park

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A massive tree has fallen in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park, requiring a large cleanup effort by city staff.

Parks department crews were on hand early Monday morning cutting the 18-metre Cottonwood into one to 1.5-metre sections.

They could be seen cleaning up loose branches from the fallen tree that had also fallen to the ground.

The fallen tree is seen cut into sections. May 15, 2023 (CTV News)

The city believes the tree came down on Sunday after the combined lean and the weight of the tree caused the root system to fail.

In an emailed statement to CTV News, the city says "in 2021, we assessed the tree and pruned to reduce end weight and manage the weight [and] canopy."

The tree fell in a wooded area of the park on the east side of Douglas Street, about 70 metres south of the entrance to Beacon Hill Park’s Circle Drive.

City staff say the fallen tree was one of two cottonwoods that were growing against one another with a shared root system.

Because the fallen tree was smaller than the existing older and much larger tree, it developed a pronounced lean as it grew over time.

"The weight of the leaning tree eventually reached the point where it overcame the structural strength of the tree and unfortunately the tree failed," said the city in a statement.

"There was no decay [or rot] noted."

Parks staff working on the clean up told CTV News that all loose material has been removed from the site. The section of the park where the tree fell will remain behind yellow caution tape and closed to park users until the area is cleared.

Crews are expected to return to the area with heavy equipment on Tuesday to remove the remaining large sections of tree. Once the area is cleared it will be reopened for park use. 

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