Sandwich Residents Upset Over Planned Weeping Willow Tree Removal

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Sandwich residents have expressed concern about the planned removal of this weeping willow tree near Sandwich Town Hall

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Sandwich residents have expressed concern about the planned removal of this weeping willow tree near Sandwich Town Hall

SANDWICH – Nearly a dozen Sandwich residents attended a public hearing on Tuesday about the future of the weeping willow tree.

The tree is a part of the town’s historic village but is slated for removal because its roots are damaging the fish ladder in the Lower Shawme Pond.

The town wants to conduct a $1.2 million project to repair the Lower Shawme Pond and fish ladder but they say that the tree must be removed.

Sandwich Department of Public Works Director Paul Tilton and Tree Warden Justin O’Connor hosted the hearing at the Human Services Building on Quaker Meeting House Road.

“I had my prom photo taken there, I understand, I don’t like to take trees down to take trees down, but sometimes you have to,” said O’Connor.

The discussion became heated at times as residents demanded answers from town officials as to why they were not given enough notice about the tree’s removal and why there weren’t plans yet for what type of trees would be replacing the weeping willow.

The tree’s 28 inch truck is about a foot away from the retaining wall for the fish ladder and dam.

Michael Frasier, an engineer and arborist representing Sandwich residents, said he inspected the tree and fish ladder himself and said there was no damage and no reason to remove the tree.

“You’re going the wrong route here, it’s wrong, it’s a beautiful tree, it’s healthy, and the roots are not protruding that wall,” said Frasier. “You’re going to open up yourself a nightmare there.”

Frasier said he noticed there was no infrastructure done to the ladder in years and that because of the water source, the tree’s roots were going down, not going out.

Town officials estimate that the tree is between 50 to 70 years old.

O’Connor said that the project should not be a surprise to residents as it was approved recently.

“This all went before town meeting back in May and it was all voted on and approved by the people of the town,” said O’Conner. “It’s been out there for a while.”

Selectmen will decide whether to remove the tree or not at their September 15 meeting.

If approved by selectmen, the project will go out to bid and the tree would be removed in the fall.


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  1. So did they go ahead and take the tree down? If an arborist examined it and was able to determine that the tree was not damaging anything with its root system and was indeed healthy there was no reason to take down such a beautiful tree!

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