A heritage oak tree on 74 Ave. in Clayton has been spared from the chopping block — for now.
Temporary fencing has been placed around the tree by the City’s Park’s Department and the local contractor says it’ll be “hands off” until the City decides what to do about the oak.
“There are looking at ways to save the tree,” said Michael Gibbs, commissioner of the Surrey Heritage Advisory Commission.
According to Gibbs, the tree was discussed at the SHAC’s Feb. 12 meeting. Gibbs said those present at the meeting agreed trees that have an aesthetic and historical significance should not be lost.
He said the tree is now in the City’s hands and that it is no longer the responsibility of the school board.
“They may change the sidewalk to go around (the tree),” noted Gibbs. “They’ll look at adding bump-outs to accommodate for parking.”
“I have no doubt that tree would’ve been gone by now if it wasn’t for the press coverage,” added Gibbs. He said the SHAC has now provided an opportunity to get the appropriate people in to see what options are available.
According to Jim Foulkes, fencing was installed around the tree Feb. 10.
Foulkes, a director for the Surrey Historical Society, also said he dug up the old planning that covers the property the tree stands on.
“(The plans) were filed with the Land Registry Office at New Westminster in 1909.”
Foulkes said the land appears to have been owned by the prominent Kennedy family of Surrey.
Foulkes claims the heritage tree is a Royal Oak and its roots run deep into the city’s history. He said all of the Royal Oaks around Surrey were planted to celebrate King George VI’s 1937 coronation.
“The trees are historical because of their origin and they have significant heritage value because of what they meant the city then and what they mean now.”
Another item on the agenda at the Surrey Heritage Advisory Commission meeting was a verbal report regarding the rebuilding of Bulman’s Garage. A fire destroyed the building in October, 2019.
“The site has been cleared now,” said Gibbs. “Just the pad remains. I believe they can use the pad when they build the new structure.”
Gibbs said the verbal report informed the SHAC that tenders are now being offered for the project.
“They have to rebuild an exact replica of the old one,” Gibbs explained. “They cannot embellish it and they’ve agreed to that. A total rebuild.”
There is no timeline yet on when the garage’s rebuild will be finished, or when a decision will be made on the heritage oak tree.