Revitalization project chops down trees

Joan Carlsen stands at the ready with her stop sign. She says traffic controllers will be on scene from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily to keep cars out of the construction zone.

By Charlotte Helston

Downtown revitalization started today with cutting the street's trees, something that came as a bit of a surprise to Vernon city council.

Coun. Patrick Nicol wanted answers from the city's infrastructure engineer, Mark Dowhaniuk.

"We went through a process to see if we could keep the trees," Dowhaniuk said during Monday's council meeting. For construction purposes, the thirty-year-old trees had to come out eventually, he said. The contractor decided sooner was better to stay on track with the project timeline, so out they came on day one.

And according to Dowhaniuk, that fact was less of a surprise to downtown businesses as it was to council.

"We coordinated with the shopkeepers to tell them the trees were coming down," he said. "There will be at least as many trees going back in."

The $2.4 million revitalization project will widen sidewalks, add new street furniture, and improve utilities. No vehicle traffic is permitted between 33rd and 35th streets during the construction, which is targeted to wrap up in early July.

The area will be open to pedestrians for the duration of the project.

Detours are in effect along 32 Ave. and Coldstream Ave. The bus stop on 30th Avenue beside Safeway has been moved to 35th St. in front of Discovery Plaza.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call (250)309-5230.

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