Landscape Plans for Roundabout Underway

News Release
April 25, 2016 Sooke, BC

Works are in progress to landscape the roundabout in the Town Centre. The District of Sooke Council, on the advice of the Sooke Program for the Arts Committee, elected to have the roundabout landscaped with low shrubbery, and native and colorful seasonal plantings.

Given Council’s resolution and safety regulations put in place by the Province that limit heights and materials used, a design was developed that displays the beauty of local flora and demonstrates how it is possible to create sustainable natural landscapes. The District of Sooke will use natural, local materials and reduce water use by using native species, thus creating a beautiful and unique focal point for the Town Centre.

The center of the roundabout will be formed with four gabions shaped in a circular or lobe design. The native plants will be a maximum of 1.8 metres high near the centre and become lower as they grade outward. The vertical structure will provide shade variation on different sides, creating micro-habitats for different species. The design will mimic a natural forest, with ferns to the north, and grading south to a rivers edge. Dry grasses and river rock will be installed around the perimeter. The river theme will ‘flow’ from the roundabout into the medians and   boulevards where small boulders and grasses will be cluster-planted in a river rock ground cover.

“This design is in line with Council’s Strategic Plan to make the Town Centre vibrant, while remaining fiscally sustainable by having low maintenance installations” said Mayor Tait. “We will be using local contractors to install the landscape in low traffic times of evenings and early weekend mornings” said Chief Administrative Officer, Teresa Sullivan.

Works are expected to be complete by May 10, 2016.


Why are there no trees?
We are unable to plant trees in the roundabout due to sightline issues and provincial restrictions. We are not planting trees in the boulevards as there are overhead utilities that trees will conflict with and there is no irrigation to ensure their survival.

Why isn’t the District planting grass in the boulevards?
The boulevards are not irrigated; therefore the grass would only be green in the winter months and then go dormant in the summer months. Green or dormant, weekly maintenance is required to maintain these areas.  A native landscape combined with river rock provides year-round interest with lower water and maintenance needs.

Are we having public art in the roundabout?
The Sooke Program for the Arts Committee has recommended that Council consider public art in the future, after longer term use of the roundabout has been experienced.

Why are you removing the soil?
The soil was placed as part of the contract for the roundabout construction. The process for design of the landscape was only recently completed and it was not foreseen that most of the soil would not be needed as it was being replaced by river rock.  The soil is being stockpiled for reuse in other projects in the District.

Will traffic be interrupted?
We will keep disruptions at a minimum by working early in the morning on weekends and in the evenings.

Media Contact:
Teresa Sullivan
Chief Administrative Officer
District of Sooke
Tel: (250) 642-1634