One of Vancouver's gateway thoroughfares is not making a strong first impression
We all know it's been a bit soggy over the last few months in Metro Vancouver. Daytime temperatures have rarely gone above the mid-teens and the clouds are hanging around longer than any of us would like. But who would have anticipated that all of this dreary weather would have transformed Vancouver's beloved Cambie Street Heritage Boulevard from an historic treasure into a veritable mushroom farm?
Over the last several week I've been driving by the boulevard and noticed it's been in very rough shape. That's mainly due to the fact that over the winter European chafer beetles have ravaged the grass on major sections south of 49th Ave. Instead of a grove of green in between the north and southbound lanes, the boulevard has now turned into an eyesore. It's not only unsightly, this stretch of public property has become home to some of the largest mushrooms I've seen growing in Vancouver in a long time. Some are as big as your fist.
Last Friday I decided to pull the car over and snap a few photos so everyone can see what I'm talking about. The photos clearly show a piece of public property in desperate need of some attention by Park Board staff.
Despite the fact there is lots of money for various "green" pet projects at City Hall lately, the politicians have apparently forgotten about the Cambie Heritage Boulevard. You'd think after chafer beetles caused so much destruction last year that somebody would have moved quickly on a plan to re-landscape this highly visible public space.
Removing the lawn all together and replanting it with other types of species might be a good first step. But don't count on it from a cash-strapped city government that clearly has higher priorities than keeping Vancouver's streets and greenspaces attractive. Who can forget the "meadow look" the Park Board signed off on last year.
After I started posting on Twitter some of the mushroom photos and video, I received some interesting reaction. Here are a few of the tweets:
@oakridge604 @Fontaine_D ya they aren't taking care of it. Must be a better solut'n. by marine it's really bad. 1st impression for a lot of ppl visiting
@AnthonyFloyd @Fontaine_D Isn't that just another CoV urban-agriculture project? Maybe they'll be harvested & sold at the Farmers Markets.
@Cogno @_Cuddlefish_ @fontaine_d @citycaucus Didn't I read recently that there are death cap mushrooms in Pt. Grey?
@_cuddlefish_ .@Fontaine_D @CityCaucus oh boy that looks like my front yard in Point Grey. For exactly the same reasons! #vanpoli
@teririch @Fontaine_D: If U walk around downtown U will notice that a portion of the city streets R a mess – patch worked but not properly repaired
There is absolutely no comparison to how the boulevards are maintained in Vancouver compared to other suburban cities. In my hometown of New Westminster (see photo on the right), it would be unthinkable to have local boulevards so covered in fungi that they could pass for a scene out of Alice in Wonderland.
It would hardly be worth discussing if it were only one patch of public property that looks bad, but Vancouver seems to have let many of its boulevards go to pot.
What do you think? Should the city just let them grow out of control? Or should city officials ensure that Vancouver's public boulevards are better maintained?
Here is a link to a Flickr photo set and a video clip below to help you make up your mind.