September 15, 2016 - 4:30 PM
VERNON - There’s concern the greenway just north of Vernon isn’t quite living up to its name.
That’s because many of the trees aren’t green at all — they’re dying.
The trees on the centre median of Highway 97 were installed in 2009, with Swan Lake Nurseryland putting up roughly $130,000 in discounted trees and shrubs, and in-kind labour for the project — part of its 50th anniversary celebration. The City of Vernon shelled out around $230,000, plus an annual budget of $30,000 to maintain the greenway.
The trees are now looking a little worse for wear, which prompted Swan Lake Nurseryland to send a letter to the city.
“It appears our investment in the community seven years ago is not being maintained to the standard necessary to ensure the trees and landscaping is sustainable, vibrant and thriving,” Nurseryland president Mike Kowaluk says in the letter.
He says 27 trees are stressed to the point they will not survive at the current level of maintenance, and another tree is completely missing.
Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund appreciates the concerns.
“Some of those trees, as you can tell, they are not what we need to have there. It’s a great entrance to the city and was a great project at the time,” Mund says. “We’ve got to look at ways to beautify that and keep it like that.”
He says the problem isn’t lack of irrigation, but the amount of debris, including salt, that is sprayed onto the trees by passing motorists.
Mund says the landscaping probably should have been done differently right from the beginning due to the proximity of the roadway, but says the city will take a look at what it can do to spruce things up.
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