No more big puddle in front of Vernon Toyota. Adding not one, but two roundabouts on a busy Vernon thoroughfare.
Those are two of the major capital projects on the book in 2019 for the City of Vernon, which hosted an open house on the projects for two hours Tuesday at the Vernon Recreation Centre auditorium, drawing close to 80 people.
Projects on the book for this year total around $22 million.
The project that drew a lot of interest, conversation and questions, is a new intersection on 39th Avenue behind the old Vernon Civic Arena near the railway tracks that will connect 29th and 30th Streets.
“There will be a new double roundabout. It’s a pretty major project that will finish about 10 years of work connecting both sides from the north and south, so we’re creating a new north-south route through the middle of the city,” said Mark Dowhaniuk, infrastructure manager with the city.
“It’s an innovative design but given the constraints with the trail tracks and the safety requirements, it was the best option available.”
Transportation is what drew Vernon resident Mary Stockdale to the open house, and the cycling enthusiast who helped organize an event last year called Love Our Lanes, where adults and kids had a chance to ride the bike lanes in the city, was happy with what she saw.
“I’ve lived here 12 years and things have really improved and changed for the people who want to bike in and out of town, kids in and out of school and those who want to bike to commute to shop and return home,” said Stockdale. “I’m really happy the city is continuing to do it piece by piece. It’s made things much better and it’s going to continue to get better.”
Stockdale’s husband, Jon Corbett, came to the open house to see the city’s plans.
“If I think of where’s the future of Vernon, the future is in attracting young families into our city,” he said. “The way we do it is by providing a wonderful infrastructure that has resources for kids, resources for young families. When I see the vibrant young people from the city with fresh ideas and are really invested into trying to make our city better, I think it’s amazing.”
Part of helping to make the city better in the north end of town is the yearly flooding of BX-Swan Lake Creek that leads to a massive puddle forming right beside Vernon Toyota.
“A large portion of our funding is being spent on 48th Avenue (near Vernon Toyota), said Dowhaniuk. “We’re fixing an old drainage problem there, as well as building a new multi-use path to connect from the commercial area there all the way to the rail trail.”
Construction on the projects is scheduled to start in the spring, depending on permitting and contractor availability.
“It’s largely dependent on whether we can get a contractor to commit to a schedule,” said Dowhaniuk. “If not in the spring, the projects will likely start in the fall or early next spring.”