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Man loses 'close friends' as twin trees are felled

A FAREWELL TO PALMS: The twin coconut trees planted by former Woodlands Wellington team manager Vengadasalam being felled on Monday at the North Park Residences construction site. The 55-year-old said the trees were his source of solace, and he would visit them whenever he was stressed.


    Apr 29, 2015

    Man loses 'close friends' as twin trees are felled

    HIS "babies" are no more.

    R. Vengadasalam tried to save the trees he had planted, but it was not to be.

    On Monday, the twin coconut trees at the construction site of North Park Residences were cut down.

    The New Paper reported on April 16 that the 55-year-old private landscaper had managed to stop contractors from cutting down the unique trees.

    The two trees were more than 20 years old and came from a single coconut.

    The contractors from Lum Chang had agreed to hold off the felling of the trees so an arborist could assess if transplanting them was possible.

    An arborist specialises in the study and care of trees.

    To do so, the contractors had to delay the project by more than two weeks, pending the arborist's report.

    At a meeting on Monday, the contractors told The New Paper and Mr Vengadasalam the report concluded that the trees could not be saved.

    Said Lum Chang senior project manager Eugene Tan, 50: "We want to engage the residents and we're very thankful for such feedback.

    "We gave the trees a chance, but it has unfortunately not been fruitful."

    Mr Vengadasalam thanked the contractors for their efforts.

    "I knew in my heart that they were going to go," he said.

    "It's also not easy for Lum Chang and I apologise to them for the delay in the project."

    Mr Tan said it was their duty to uphold their word as the company believes in integrity and being proactive in engaging the community.

    In 1998, Mr Vengadasalam was the team manager of S-League football team Woodlands Wellington.

    He said the trees were his source of solace, and he would visit them whenever he was stressed.

    He had planted them after visiting a nursery in 1990 and seeing a coconut with two shoots.

    He was then a property officer at Sembawang Town Council, and decided to plant it at a spot in Yishun Park.

    Asked if he wanted to see the trees one last time before they were chopped down, he said no.

    "When a close friend of mine passes away, I don't go near the person," Mr Vengadasalam said.

    "It's so I can remember the good parts about them, to remember them as they were. They (the trees) will forever live on as they were in my memory."