Steeves/Trail Mix: Let’s use real trees and plants

Plastic always ends up in the landfill eventually, so why not just use real trees and plants to begin with.

Real trees

It should have been clear from the start—when a tin welcome sign painted to resemble wood went up at both entrances to West Kelowna on Highway 97—use of natural materials is not a high priority with our newest municipality.

That choice was particularly ironic when you consider one of its biggest employers, and a historic one at that, makes the production of wood its business. Gorman family members are also renowned for service to the community, so it must have seemed like quite a slap in the face to see the fake wood signs go up.

But now we also have fake grass adorning the medians on West Kelowna’s beautiful new Wine Route—interspersed with real trees, I’m relieved to see. I’m a glass-half-full kind of person, so I’m clutching at the fact that at least plastic trees weren’t used in the new design.

I can quite honestly say I love the decorative lamp standards which direct light to the roadway instead of polluting the entire region with light at night, a danger to all night flying birds who can become disoriented in such intense lighting.

They’re really attractive too, but somehow the intensely-green plastic molded to the median underneath strikes a discordant note, particularly in mid-winter, when your mind knows it can’t be real grass that colour.

Engineering manager Rob Mueller explains that no water will be wasted irrigating it, nor will any workers’ lives be endangered by having to weed or maintain it, plus the raised median may help prevent a serious accident on an icy winter day.

But, doesn’t anyone realize in a few years that fake grass will become dirty and tattered and it will have to be consigned to the landfill?

In the meantime, instead of accepting runoff and filtering it; giving off oxygen and cooling the surrounding air, which real plants would do there, this material will create more runoff, perhaps with a little of itself added; and it will tend to heat the surrounding air even further on a hot summer day.

The Okanagan’s natural beauty is not in its green-ness, but in the silver-gray of sage and the many shades of brown and beige, punctuated by the bright colours of native flowers and fall leaves, like those of sumac and sunflower, rabbitbrush and yarrow.

Let’s stop trying to import the beauty of tropical rainforests instead—particularly with faux touches using un-natural materials.

I have to wonder if the same council members who approved this are unpacking their fake Christmas trees this week; dusting off the grime from previous years and trying to push the plastic branches into the right shape to resemble the real thing.

Guess where those things will end up after a few years?

By the way, my annual Christmas column is coming up next week, so if you have any gift ideas for outdoors people, send them along asap and I’ll include them.

 

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

City of West Kelowna releases survey for cannabis store restrictions

October 17 non-medical cannabis sales will be permitted

City of Kelowna hires new consultant

Bill McKinnon fills the void left by the passing of Rob Mayne

Strong smell of ammonia downtown Kelowna

Fire crews attended the Memorial Arena for a strong smell of ammonia

Hedge goes up in smoke in Lake Country

A Lake Country resident burning weeds had flames spread to a nearby hedge

New summer market hits Kelowna

Craft Culture and Manteo Resort will host a summer market this weekend

VIDEO: Visual recap of Vancouver Island MusicFest

Walk Off The Earth, Passenger, Arlo Guthrie among highlights

Emerica tears up Penticton Youth Park

Pro skateboarders make summer afternoon even hotter

‘Virtual drugstore’ dealer sentenced in the South Okanagan

A Penticton woman was using the casino as a hub to sell drugs and launder money

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

UPDATE: Wildfire near Lake Country grows to seven hectares

The BC Wildfire Service is responding to a blaze at Dee Lake

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

UPDATE: BC crews respond to two new wildfires

Blazes near Allison and Osoyoos Lakes

Motorcycle driver dies in a head-on collision near Oliver

RCMP said the three vehicle collision, near Road 18, happened around 2:45 p.m. on July 14

‘Lava bomb’ through roof of tour boat injures 22 in Hawaii

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers”

Most Read