Dear Station Members & Media Friends,
Attached are two sets of newspaper cutting concerning the Tree Rigging at Jockey Club Tak Wah Park in Tsuen Wan. The Station Manager hereby provides his side of the story with him commanding on site everyday for the work. This report is written under our Station Principles of Integrity, Professionalism, Participation, Fact-finding & Truth-telling with the knowledge & witness of an Independent Practicing Arborist (IPA). Station Members would appreciate the quality of an IPA in our territory, to comment on specialist work of this kind as entirely different from general landscape work of our Govt Approved Specialist Contractors.
To state out some facts, rather than just attending a 3 day session to complete the Tree Work for the two Erythrinas in this Park as acknowledged by the public, the Station Manager & his contractors have made 3 study trips prior to the work to ascertain Rigging Points & Work Plan. The final cleaning up of the brush was actually completed at 5pm on Saturday 13.9.08. It therefore took 3 days for the planning, 4 days for the rigging & 1 day for the cleaning up, making it a total of 8 days for the whole process.
One of the 2 Erythrinas was actually leaning towards a Third Class Historic Relic within the Park & any property damage there would be unthinkable. The bigger tree was situated in a peninsula straddling a lake with lamp posts, wooden railings & other structures underneath. This Park was always full of visitors at all times & a lot of them appeared to enjoy looking for attractions to entertain themselves. Then there were the TV & newspaper reporters with cameras & constant phone calls to the Station Manger asking for progress & judgment on why & worthiness to remove the trees. Social sentiments were strong to retain all or part of the trees & one Legco Members has advised the Station Manager to cut to a higher level in order to quell public outcry. The Station Manager has become the focus of the media, but has stood firm to carry out his duty as he was told.
On the equipment side, the Station Manager has deployed 1 no. of 10 inch extended chainsaw, 2 no. of 12 inch top handle chainsaw, 1 no. 14 inch top handle chainsaw, 2 no. of 18 inch back handle chainsaw & 1 no. of 30 inch back handle chainsaw, plus a varieties of Pole Saws & Hand Saws for the cutting. Among all 7 chainsaws employed, all has broken down eventually with the exception of the Oleo-Mac 18 inch chainsaw which was bought on the last day in Reclamation Street to complete the root stump grinding work. 3 rigging lines were also damaged & have to be thrown away. Then there were damages to Pole Saws, climbing equipment & accessories of all kinds since the work was demanded to be all completed including brush removal by evening of 13.8.08, so that the Park could be open safely for use for the Mid-Autumn Festival starting in evening of 13.8.08.
The work began at 8am on Tuesday 9.9.08 with LCSD staff repeating the Tomograph to finally ascertain decay positions. The cutting the smaller Erythrina began at 10.30am under care & the work did not stop to until nearly 8pm in the evening. In the cavities of both Erythrinas, there were concrete fillings of the past, steel nails, steel wires, roof tile chippings & rock particles which damaged the chainsaws one by one. There were also hundreds of insects of all kinds extruding from the trees as the cutting progressed & every climber was full of sawdust from head to toe during the climb. It was sunny & hot day everyday during the work & when the sweat mixed in with the sawdust & exhaust fumes from the chainsaws, the Station Manager would invite anyone disagreeing with Rigging to try to mix with us to enjoy the sensation of work of a Professional Tree Worker.
Among the heat, the exhaustion & the watchful eyes of the media during the Rigging, the work had to be completed within a designated time frame before the Mid-Autumn Festival. Any delay could invite attack from the public. Most of the Tree Workers who took part in the Rigging practically slept only 4 - 5 hours a night during the work & had all taken the Rigging work as a mission to demonstrate the exceptional quality of ISA Tree Workers in our territory. They all have an intention to show our public that Tree Workers are not the same as general landscape workers & they were proving this by deeds.
At the moment when the last piece of 3 meter trunk finally fell to the ground for the big Erythrina at 7.45pm on Friday 12.9.08, after wiping off his sweat & settled his emotion, the Station Manager looked up to the sky & said to himself:
"Kitty, we have done this one for you. We have removed yet other hazardous tree in HK for your sake."
It was a calm moment. There were smiles among all 6 workers who took part. The sky also appeared to smile back at us with a bright moon & passing cloud ...
"Trees are good for the community. Trees need care like human beings. Arborists are the Tree Care Professionals."