LATE NIGHT CHOPPING; Last George Square tree felled in secret.
Council workmen carrying chainsaws moved in at 6.30pm to cut down the last remaining Swedish White Beam.
But if the aim was to avoid re-igniting the outcry over Glasgow City Council's bulldozing of the square, it failed.
The deafening noise of the chainsaws combined with flashing lights galore and revving trucks made sure of that.
And it was at 8.23pm that the last of a group of trees that survived even World War II fell to the ground.
Glasgow City Council chiefs insist the trees - victims of Dutch Elm disease - were rotting, and a danger to the public.
But even they admit the pounds 200,000 revamp of the square could have been handled much better.
Last night, a council spokesman was at the ready, insisting new trees would be arriving Tuesday.
It will take more than that, though, to win-round a sceptical Glasgow public that was never warned of the re-vamp.
Not only have the trees gone, flower beds have been uprooted and the paths across the square have been relaid in red.
Last night's operation swung into action with military precision, conveniently starting after the evening rush-hour had finished.
The council's special branch were clearly sworn to secrecy - refusing all requests to talk about the mission.
One of the team said: "All requests for information must be made to the Director of Parks."
And when asked if the workers were on time-and-a-half to do the job, he still refused to comment.
One of his colleagues drew the short straw and had to climb up high into the tree to start chopping off branches.
Slowly he made his way down until the tree stood as a forlorn stump, around 20 feet tall.
A saw was duly taken to the base and with not-so-much as a shout of "Timber" what was left tumbled to the ground.
Now let's bring on the George Square wooden coffee tables - you can almost see the queues forming at the Barras.
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Oct 27, 1998|
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