Sooke will beautify its new traffic roundabout with flowers and low-growing bushes, as part of its multi-million-dollar town centre project.
District council gave the go-ahead last week to plant “native and colourful, seasonal plantings,” but postponed plans to include artwork or artifacts in the roundabout until traffic studies were complete.
“Substantial public art is needed in the community, but the centre of the roundabout may not be the best location,” said Drew Johnston, Sooke Program for the Arts chair, which made recommendations to council.
The reason? Art could be hit by a vehicle and damaged. It would also be difficult to get to the art to view it without impeding traffic.
The Ministry of Transportation needs to be consulted for placement of art with consideration given to viewpoints and sight lines on the roundabout.
Putting the final touches on the roundabout are delayed due to inclement weather, said acting mayor Rick Kasper.
“When you start late in the season and then you’re inundated with lousy weather, it puts you in a bind,” Kasper said, adding there were also surprises with the project including the discovery of sinkholes.
Coun. Brenda Parkinson said both the SPA and parks and trails committee had many people and groups approach them about beautifying the roundabout area and the town center.
“We had one suggestion to buy a piece of artwork for $30,000,” she said.
“It just seems more prudent to wait and see how the roundabout goes and look at how everything in the project fits together.”
All work on the project is expected to be completed by the end of March.
Meanwhile, the district is thanking local business owners for being patient as the Transportation Ministry addresses the deficiency list related to the roundabout work.
“We understand this work had a negative effect on local businesses and appreciate the support we received from good corporate citizens, Village Food Centre, Home Hardware, Wood Travel and Cruise, Sooke Fax & Copy Centre, Island Land Surveying Ltd, Sooke Dance Studio and Randy Clarkson and Laurie Wallace (West Coast Design), who worked closely with district staff to mitigate disruptions” said chief administrative officer Teresa Sullivan.