Painted turtles get much needed extra attention in West Kelowna neighbourhood | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Painted turtles get much needed extra attention in West Kelowna neighbourhood

Last year the turtles along Westlake Road got a push of support from area residents who said they were tired of the bloodbath that had come to mark their mating season.
Image Credit: CITY OF WEST KELOWNA
April 25, 2021 - 2:01 PM

Turtles that embark on a potentially deadly migration this time of year in West Kelowna are getting a little extra attention.

"Today, our crews are installing signage (on Westlake Road) to remind drivers to slow down and watch for turtles when driving in this area," the city of West Kelowna wrote in a social media post.

Then, later this spring and summer, the city will start construction on a longer-term solution to help with crossings during nesting season. Council recently approved construction for habitat and fencing to encourage turtles to cross the roadway in the existing underground culverts. 

Last year the turtles along Westlake Road got a push of support from area residents who said they were tired of the bloodbath that had come to mark their mating season.

Longtime area residents said they tried to act as stewards of the turtles, but the traffic is intense and it's become clear more had to be done than what’s currently there.

In 2020 the city brought in two large digital reader boards, reminding people that the turtles were crossing. City crews were also dispatched to the area to make some repairs to fencing that leads to two culverts under Westlake Road.

The culverts are there so the turtles can travel under the road rather than over it, though it appears many aren’t taking that path so the city has plans to look into that as well.

That road was upgraded in 2013 to 2014 and that’s when the culverts were put in for the turtles, city staff said, and Stantec, the company  that installed them were looking into installing cameras to observe the turtles and see how many are using the culverts, which despite oftentimes being clear of debris are being bypassed. 

The aim is to get the turtles onto a safe path, but there are challenges and he hopes area residents get on board with the efforts.

May and June are peak migration time for the turtles.


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