A towering tree swing in a Southside backyard which once held a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records is no more.
Two massive cottonwoods which provided the supports for the swing on South Kalum had rotted over the years and had become a safety hazard, reports property owner Tara Irwin.
Crafted in 1991 by then-property owner Mike Gavronsky, the swing hung off a log-jammed in the y-shaped branches of the two cottonwoods, measuring more than 64 feet from the swing’s seat to the top.
Following complaints from neighbours that cottonwood leaves left a sticky residue on their property, Gavronsky trimmed the branches by scaling the trees.
Then with a logging truck and some assistance, he hoisted up a 30-foot log which spanned the distance between the two trees.
A wooden seat swing was fitted with a backrest and a chain in front to hold in a person. It took a pulley system to raise up a swinger to the swing’s maximum height.
Once in place, the swing quickly became a recreational fixture to generations of Southsiders and others.
“We know the big swing was a well-loved community amenity for many years, and a celebrated world record when it was put up,” Irwin said.
According to an August 2004 story in The Terrace Standard, an out-of-town friend of Gavronsky’s suggested the swing should have a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
It took two years for the publication to have the swing certified as the world’s tallest, a process that involved inspection and measurement by two prominent local residents.
Over the years other tall swings surpassed the one here.
The current record holder as of 2011, indicates the Guinness Book of World Records, is in Durban, South Africa. It measures 288 feet, 8 inches from the seat to the top of the crossbar and is attached to the roof of the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Local arborist Mike Plunkard from RainCoast Arboriculture took down the two cottonwoods, an extensive task completed this week involving climbing each tree and cutting off sections which were then lowered safely to the ground.
“We had Mike assess the trees in 2018 when we had the cottonwoods trimmed. At that time he found that there was already significant rot and the swing would not be safe to use. We have had a few people drop by wanting to try the swing but we had to turn them away,” said Irwin.
The state of the rot then lead to the decision to remove the cottonwoods altogether for safety reasons, Irwin added.