The devastating news was delivered at the Borough of Queenscliffe's May Council meeting in the form of a report from Homewood Consulting, which assessed 112 of the Monterey Cypress trees and determined all were at risk of succumbing to the deadly disease Seiridium Canker.
Three trees have already been removed, six will be taken down in 2019 and a further 38 are recommended for removal within 10 years.
“The remainder are expected to reach the end of their Useful Life Expectancy (ULE) within 10 and 40 years,” a report to Council said.
“The main risk identified is the age of the trees, natural senescence and the presence of Seiridium Canker. [It] could reduce the ULE of the trees in the future should climatic conditions accelerate the spread and impact of this disease.
“Based on the study by Homewood Consulting, the management strategy with the lowest public safety and economic risk is to replace the Monterey Cypress trees with a species that is less vulnerable to the physical and environmental insults that are inflicted by the location of the [Avenue]. ”
A reference group of up to six people will be formed to consider when and how to replace the trees and with what species. It will include a representative of the RSL and the Queenscliffe Historical Museum. Feedback will also be sought from local school children.
As part of its assessment Homewood Consulting looked at Avenue replacement programs in other municipalities. Options include block or total removal of trees, and infill planting.
"While Monterey Cypress hs been a defining landscape feature throughout the Borough of Queenscliffe for the past 100 years, the opportunity now exists for the community to define the future landscape and character of the Borough," the consultants said.
"The species selected to replant the Avenues and rows will need to be tolerant of the coastal and climatic conditions present in Queenscliff."
The first of the trees were planted in 1918, in honour of soldiers killed in World War One. However the full extent of the Avenue remains unclear.
In a 2013 survey of residents, 97 percent of respondents said they wanted the Avenue retained.
Seiridium Canker is widespread through Victoria. There is no known cure for the disease..