The City of Vernon is hosting an open house to showcase design options for Turtle Mountain Boulevard on Monday, Sept. 30, but residents of Vernon are left with questions.
One resident took to the Vernon and Area Community Forum on Facebook and asked why the city is redoing the boulevard in the first place.
“It already has more curb appeal than the majority of the city,” the commenter said. “Large majority of Vernon wouldn’t even know it happened because nobody except the residents of Turtle Mountain are driving on this road.”
The city has assumed responsibility of the existing boulevard trees and plans on replacing them with drought-tolerant trees and shrubs.
Another person said there are better things the city can spend money on.
“This is the nicest road/sidewalk there is in Vernon and the landscaping looks fine,” another said. “Why not put some attention where it’s needed.”
In a July 29 council meeting, councillors heard the boulevard makeover was said to cost a one-time expense of $175,000 with an annual maintenance budget of $75,000. It was then council directed city staff to seek options that would cost no more than $75,000.
The landscaping needs to be swapped out as the existing trees planted are not suitable for the site or the city’s climate; they show stunted growth and their health is deteriorating. City staff said the tress will die long before they mature.
Three alternative design options will be presented at the open house. One boasts trees, rock groundcovers and an irrigation system. Another shows trees with native grass groundcoverings.
The third, a phased xeriscaping, boasts the lowest maintenance landscape of the alternative designs as it would feature natural gardens at the green spaces. This includes native dryland grass seed mix and drought tolerant shrub and perennial plugs. Although cheaper in the long run, its upfront costs rings in at an estimated $300,000.
The open house will run from 4-6 p.m. on Sept. 30, at the Grey Canal parking lot on Turtle Mountain Boulevard.
If you’re unable to attend the open house or need for more information, please visit EngageVernon.ca to take the survey or download background reports.