No taxpayer funds for drought-tolerant landscaping

GVAC will not pursue a grant for a residential xeriscape rebate program

Xeriscape landscaping can involve a variety of methods

Xeriscape landscaping can involve a variety of methods

Greater Vernon residents won’t get a subsidy to replace the lawn with rocks.

Despite a staff recommendation, the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee will not apply to the Okanagan Basin Water Board for a residential xeriscape rebate program.

“I don’t see the value in it,” said director Doug Dirk.

Staff recommended a program encouraging xeriscape landscaping so customers can improve water use efficiency.

“Landscape water demand drives a significant percentage of the increase in water consumption that occurs in the summer months, from around 13 millilitres a day in January to 31 millilitres a day in July, as recorded from the Mission Hill water treatment plant,” said Renee Clark, water quality manager, in a report.

“For every square metre of xeriscape landscaping a customer installs, a $5 rebate is proposed. This rebate would only apply to new (2017) landscaping and customers would be required to submit plant and soil purchase receipts. A maximum rebate of $100 per customer would be available.”

Staff had called for the program to be done in partnership with the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen, with the total cost being $37,500. The OBWB grant would have been $20,000.

Dirk got support from other directors not to send the grant application off to OBWB.

“The amount of the rebate is insignificant and taking staff away from (water conservation) education is not the best use of their time,” he said.

“Those people interested in this (xeriscaping) have already likely done it.”

Dark skies sought

Some Greater Vernon Advisory Committee directors want  the night sky protected from too much light.

Director Mike Macnabb says there is a problem with the light posts at Kal Tire Place aiming upwards and outwards.

“Is there a way to put shielding on them so they’re not as bright?” he said.

The primary concern is the lights make it difficult to see the night sky.

The City of Vernon is currently planning for an addition to Kal Tire Place and existing lighting will be reused. The concept of shielding the lights to reduce the glare has not been considered in the budget.