There will be no hanging flower baskets on Main Street this summer.
The city parks and recreation department was asked to take a $120,000 budget cut. The flowers were one of the first things to go.
“It isn’t so much the cost of the flowers, it’s the maintenance cost and upkeep costs,” said mayor Bev Buckway.
“Plus the baskets themselves are dilapidated and decrepit and our staff tell us they’ve glued and wired and stapled them about as much as they can.
“So replacing the baskets would be another cost.”
Buckway could not provide the maintenance costs for the 48 Main Street hanging baskets.
“We don’t want to say, ‘Well, we won’t have soccer any more,’ so in order to try and keep that sort of thing, if we can have a little bit less maintenance done to our parks, then that’s a way to cut it,” said Buckway.
In addition to the disappearance of the hanging flower baskets, there will be no flowers planted in Teegatha’oh Zheh Park this summer.
This disappoints both June Hampton of the Main Street Yukon Society and Lorne Metropolit of Yukon Botanical Gardens.
“A lot of visitors think that we are literally an ice and snow climate year-round and that we live in igloos and it’s very important they know not only can we grow plants, but that some of them actually do better here than they do down south,” said Hampton.
“Also, not everybody can have flowers for their garden, not everybody has a garden, and so having flowers in municipal locations where everyone can enjoy them is really important.”
Metropolit stood up at last Monday’s city council meeting and said that he’d donate every second hanging basket or give the city 50 per cent off all of them.
“If enough people stand up and others might even come up with donations, there’s a possibility this problem could be solved or at least some kind of a thick, temporary band-aid could be applied,” he said.
“With us creating more and more parks, our parks budget should be growing, not shrinking.”
Think of it from an environmental point of view, said Metropolit.
“Everybody is concerned about clean oxygen — well having flowers and trees around helps that,” he said.
“We’ve done such a beautiful job over the years in promoting and growing and having the hanging baskets program and to dramatically cut that after us becoming almost a worldwide attraction after the Winter Games is pretty awful.”
Buckway said that the parks and recreation budget cutting was not directly linked to the expense of hosting the Canada Winter Games.