Protesters were unable to save a Moreton Bay fig tree, believed to be 100 years old, cut down to make way for the State Government’s Elizabeth Quay redevelopment.
The tree was cut down branch by branch this morning despite calls from protesters to spare it.
The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority confirmed yesterday it was one of about 160 trees to be culled in coming months.
The trees, including gums, London planes, Moreton Bay figs and cotton palms, will be retained or moved within the project area or will be made available to councils, schools and community organisations.
Authority chief executive Kieran Kinsella said while the Moreton Bay fig, on the corner of William Street and The Esplanade, had “recognised heritage value” there were “considerable engineering and environmental reasons for removing it”.
He said the authority had sought arboriculturalist advice.
Mr Kinsella said that with an estimated weight of 600 tonnes, significant modifications and rehabilitation of the road infrastructure, specialist crane equipment and the removal of other trees would be required to move it.
Relocation of the tree could result in the transfer of contaminated materials to another site, he said.
“Advice from heritage experts indicates that by moving the tree to a new location, its context, in terms of being part of The Esplanade reserve, and its heritage value will be diminished, ” he said.Trees would be removed as required from this weekend until early next year.