It used to be that the word sinkhole conjured up images of Florida and entire neighbourhoods in jeopardy.
However, unfortunately, the phrase is becoming a common part of the lexicon here in the North Okanagan.
Just on Tuesday, a hole measuring about three feet in diameter opened up in the northbound lanes of 32nd Street (Highway 97), just south of 25th Avenue. Vehicles on the busiest route in Vernon were immediately brought to a halt and single-lane traffic only resumed Wednesday.
But this isn’t the only example of such situations occurring.
On the Easter weekend this year, emergency personnel received a report of a vehicle falling into a sinkhole in the 3300 block of 42nd Avenue by Flaman Fitness. There were also two between 2013 and 2014.
All of this highlights the infrastructure deficit that faces not only Vernon, but all communities and the provincial government, which is responsible for Highway 97.
Water pipes, roads, sewer lines and sidewalks, as well as public facilities, have been allowed to age over the decades and that means failures are going to occur, such as the water main break in April that limited Enderby’s service capacity.
But there is good news as most communities recognize the issue and are putting aside money for infrastructure. In the case of Vernon, a 1.9 per cent tax hike targets capital.
Progress is being made on the infrastructure front, but as Tuesday’s sinkhole shows, there’s a lot of work to be done.