Threatened shrubs and grass in Vernon's Turtle Mountain neighbourhood get to stay — for now | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon News

Threatened shrubs and grass in Vernon's Turtle Mountain neighbourhood get to stay — for now

Turtle Mountain Blvd.
Image Credit: Google Street View

VERNON - The shrubs and grasses dotting the boulevard's of Vernon's Turtle Mountain won themselves a temporary reprieve from being ripped up following a lengthy debate at city council today.

Council had been due to vote at today's, July 29, meeting on whether or not to rip up the scrubs and grass that line the boulevards of the development and replace them landscaped rock. Costs to continue with the current landscaping were estimated at $150,000 per year, while the new proposed landscaping would cost $75,000.

Turtle Mountain residents packed council chambers and made a presentation that objected to the downscaling of the street's landscaping.

According to a city report, the issue regarding the landscaping dates back to the development's early days in 2006 when the developer Wesbild agreed to pay for the landscaping for two years. Fast forward 13-years and for reasons that weren't discussed, Westbild continued to cover the costs over the years but stopped maintaining the scrubs, trees and grass that line the boulevards of Turtle Mountain earlier this spring.

City staff estimated to continue with the current landscaping put costs at $150,000. The figure was met with a call of "ridiculous" from a member of the audience.

Council heard how the shrubs, trees and grasses needed constant irrigation - and a new irrigational system installation - and the standards for greenery had changed and these trees and shrubs would not be planted with today's higher standards.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal said she had been told by Wesbild the landscaping cost $30,000 a year and said the $150,000 estimate "didn't seem to add up."

Coun. Scott Anderson said he was concerned about the inflation of the costs.

City staff had recommended to council to keep the 300 trees, upgrade the inefficient irrigation system, and remove 800 shrubs at a one-off capital cost of $175,000 followed by $75,000 per year in maintenance.

Council had previously asked residents whether they wanted to enter into a cost-sharing agreement to maintain the current landscaping but only received eight positive replies from 172 letters sent out. Thirty-eight residents responded to the letter objecting to the cost-sharing idea.

Anderson said he was "very uncomfortable" voting to have the shrubs ripped up.

Following a lengthy debate by council, Coun. Kari Gares suggested city staff draw up a design that would fit with the $75,000 budget and present it to Turtle Mountain residents, saying she wanted more public consultation.

The motion was passed unanimously and council will vote again on the fate on the shrubs at a later date.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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