Vernon Senior Secondary Class of 1981 spray paints their names on Suicide Hill on 30th Avenue on June 27. (Submitted)

Vernon Senior Secondary Class of 1981 spray paints their names on Suicide Hill on 30th Avenue on June 27. (Submitted)

Tagging Suicide Hill OK’d by Vernon council

VSS graduating class to make mark, road to remain closed until paint removed

Vernon Secondary School’s graduation ‘Plan F’ is a go after council voted in favour to allow students to revive the traditional tagging of Suicide Hill, but the road will remain closed for nearly three months or until the paint is removed.

For the first time in nearly 40 years, students will once again pick up a can of spray paint to mark the end of their high school era. The Class of ‘81 was the last to paint the portion of 30th Avenue, otherwise known as Suicide Hill.

The idea first came to council during the May 25 meeting after Coun. Brian Quiring passed on the inquiry from a constituent. The tagging of Suicide Hill would help the Grade 12s mark their graduation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put a stop to all normal celebrations.

VSS teacher and grad sponsor Kulwinder Smith said tagging this hill is “Plan F” for the grad class of 176 students.

Smith provided a report to council ahead of its June 8 meeting regarding the physically-distanced event slated for June 17.

City staff recommended council close the 2400 block of 30th Avenue to allow for students to go in groups to make their mark, but also suggested the road remain closed until September 4, 2020, at the latest.

Staff said the two-and-a-half month-long road closure would ensure the safety of motorists, as covering large portions of roadway in paint creates slippery conditions — which could be hazardous in inclement weather — and the “markings would be unfamiliar to drivers,” the report to council said.

Plus, the paint would last longer and stay vibrant “without vehicle tires wearing the paint.”

Coun. Akbal Mund said the length of the road closure is a bit “extreme.” He pointed to years past when the road was closed for the one day when students painted and allowed for proper drying time before it was reopened to vehicle traffic.

Mund said he worried if other high schools wished to do something similar on a different stretch of road, would those roads also have to be closed for nearly three months.

Staff informed council the portion of Suicide Hill under consideration is no stranger to lengthy closures, noting the roadway used to be closed in winter for “years and years.”

Coun. Kari Gares said the length of the road closure may seem long but it’s worth it to celebrate the graduates’ hard work.

“This is a great opportunity to turn the clock back and give these kids a chance to express themselves,” Gares said.

Students from Lumby’s Charles Bloom Secondary School painted Cop Hill on June 4 and a road closure was in effect between 1-8 p.m.

Vernon Museum and Archives’ community engagement coordinator Gwyneth Evans said the reason the tradition of painting Suicide Hill was stopped was that the spray paint “allegedly” spread to adjacent areas.

“I also suspect it was deemed too dangerous,” she said.

The following year, the grad class painted the VSS parking lot in lieu, Evans said.

The report to council estimates a $470 cost for installation and removal of signage to close and reopen the portion of 30th Avenue, following the unanimous vote in favour, and another $200 for temporary signage.

Council also waived the $75 road closure permit fee.

READ MORE: Tagging Suicide Hill ‘Plan F’ for Vernon grad class

READ MORE: Vernon rookery protections set for public hearing again


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon Winter Carnival Cop John Fawcett (left) and Carnival director Paul Cousins are at Vernon’s Real Canadian Superstore on Anderson Way until 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24, selling raffle tickets for a 2019 Polaris Snowmobile plus $1,000 worth of gear from BDM Motorsports. Tickets are $20. Only 5,000 tickets are being sold. The draw will be made Wednesday, Feb. 17. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon Winter Carnival prize sled on display

Grand prize in Carnival raffle draw is 2019 Polaris snowmobile and $1,000 in gear; tickets $20

With a hockey stick and ice bucket to ensure social distancing, volunteers with the Kal Rotary Club collected cash during a drive-thru donation event in Vernon Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Kal Rotary seeks local non-profits in need of Dream Fund support

The deadline to apply for this year’s $105K in Dream funds has been extended to Feb. 28

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Black Mountain Elementary in Kelowna Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Google Image)
Another COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School Saturday

Most Read