Iconic 22m heritage tree at Fort Canning Park collapses after intense rainfall

Heritage trees are vulnerable to extreme wet weather.

Zhangxin Zheng | January 04, 2021, 11:30 AM

A grandiose heritage tree at Fort Canning Park has collapsed as a result of the torrential rain over the weekend.

This is what it looked like before the collapse:

Photo by Quek Kwang Yong/Facebook.

Fallen heritage tree on Jan. 2:

Photo by Bert Grobben/Facebook.

Fallen heritage tree

The incident happened at about 9:40am on Jan. 2 2021.

The National Parks Board (NParks) was alerted that the 22m heritage tree, a Burmese Banyan (Ficus kurzii), had fallen.

A Burmese Banyan can grow up to 30m tall and has distinct aerial roots.

This particular Burmese Banyan is one of the three in Singapore that has been recognised as a heritage tree.

A tree can be nominated as a heritage tree if it has a girth of more than five metres and/or has botanical, social, historical, cultural or aesthetic value.

Soil failure due to intense rain

According to Ryan Lee, the Group Director of Fort Canning Park & Istana, National Parks Board (NParks), the tree had lost its grip as a result of a soil failure due to the consecutive days of intense rain.

The tree has collapsed onto the pavement and damaged a section of the sheltered escalators from Jubilee Park leading up to Fort Canning Hill.

Fortunately, there were no visitors in the vicinity at that time.

Removal works are in progress and the escalators are closed off until further notice, Lee said.

Visitors can still access Fort Canning Hill through Canning Rise and a series of staircases from Jubilee Park.

Here's a before and after comparison as compiled by a park user:

Photo by Quek Kwang Yong/Facebook.

Photo by Quek Kwang Yong/Facebook.

A few slopes islandwide have given way after the heavy rain pelted down for more than a day.

Top photo by Quek Kwang Yong/Facebook