Work underway to improve look of traffic circle

City staff are working to beautify an important landmark in Dawson Creek.

Those passing by have no doubt noticed the traffic circle at the intersection of Eighth Street and Alaska Avenue has been excavated, with huge mounds of dirt piled up behind barricades that were erected to keep people out. The City of Dawson Creek is undertaking work to not only improve the look of the greenspace there, but to make it easier to look after.

Darcy Perrin, the citys parks manager, said staff were approached by the Dawson Creek Beautification Committee last year to take over maintenance of the space after it became too big of a job for the volunteer group to do themselves. He said the flower beds had been overtaken with weeds and needed significant work to be restored.

"It was the in the best interest of the bed to redo it, so we came up with a design over the winter – our gardener designed it – and were implementing that now," he said, adding the work is being done in the evening to avoid disruptions to traffic.

The excavation is in part to install a new irrigation system, replacing the existing rotary sprinklers with more efficient drip emitters. He said the flower bed will be mulched as well, which will suppress weeds and also help retain moisture.

"It's designed to be low maintenance. In a season like this, we could turn the irrigation system off because weve had ample rain. In a case like the last couple of years where it has been very dry, the drip emitters would supply enough moisture for these plants and the mulch would help hold it down.

He said the garden will be designed with an Allan Block retaining wall about 45 to 60 centimetres in height, as well as small, ornamental trees of different heights, a dwarf spruce and a variety of perennials.

Perrin said the traffic circle is definitely an important focal point for visitors and residents alike.

"In terms of tourism, everybody goes around that point more or less – a lot of people stop at the N.A.R. Park – and it will definitely be a drawing point, and hopefully people will stop and take pictures or just relax and enjoy it, as well for the many local people who drive by it everyday."

He said the work has been delayed somewhat by the recent inclement weather, but he expects the project to be compete by mid-August. The estimated total project cost is $37,000.