Highway 97 beautification in sight

BX-Swan Lake director looks to beautify Highway 97

A local politician wants to transform a high-profile transportation corridor.

BX-Swan Lake director Bob Fleming has initiated a campaign to beautify the east side of Highway 97 between Mike Rosman RV and Art Knapp Plantland.

“It’s derelict,” he said of the public highway right-of-way. “A lot of material is dead and it’s full of Canada thistle.”

The centre median along the highway was upgraded in 2009 through the efforts of Swan Lake Nurseryland and the City of Vernon.

But the shoulders on both the west and east sides were not done and have been deteriorating ever since the Ministry of Transportation ceased maintenance as part of budget cuts.

Fleming has developed a design for his project and it will include irrigation lines, trees and decorative rock. The total project cost is $23,233 and about $13,290 has been donated so far.

“I am hoping to get support from business on this,” said Fleming, who is a professional landscaper.

“No one I have asked for support has declined.”

Fleming’s constituents are also participating through the Regional District of North Okanagan.

“Some of my discretionary funds are being used,” he said.