Rotarians plan new welcome for Invermere

"Now it will look like a welcome to Invermere, instead of a welcome to Invermere's industrial park."

For years, the landscaping highlight of the crossroads has been “two triangles full of dirt and road debris,” but by next spring the Rotary Club of Invermere hopes to give the area a beauty boost.

The club’s latest project has already brought a sidewalk to the two islands of land that break up the Highway 93/95 intersection outside of Invermere, and project co-ordinator Rod Turnbull says more is yet to come.

“Now it will look like a welcome to Invermere, instead of a welcome to Invermere’s industrial park,” he says.

“All you had there was two triangles full of dirt and road debris, with hardly any visual appeal. Rotarians have pride in the town… that’s what it is. It’s all about valley pride and pride in the town.”

Though the project has been considered by the club in the past, this time the group got a boost to its efforts from the provincial Ministry of Transportation, which has been working with Rotary to plan the project.

“I don’t know if you can say a government agency was ecstatic, but they were,” laughs Turnbull. “They were absolutely thrilled we wanted to do something with that intersection, so we started the planning process with them.”

When the province offered to donate paved sidewalks for the islands — installed in October — it was an unexpected bonus.

” That wasn’t even in our vision, the paving,” says Turnbull. “We were just going to put dirt and gravel in there, with gravel where the sidewalks are as well.”

The next step is to fill in the area around the pavement with dirt and add a one-meter gravel boundary to the islands to allow for drainage in winter. Turnbull say some fill work may still get done this fall, depending on weather and other factors.

Next spring, Rotarians will work with the local planting gurus of the Groundswell Network to add more flair to the reworked land.

“All the plants that will be in there will be plants that are indigenous to the area, that need little, if any, maintenance,” Turnbull says.

“It’ll look a little sparse to begin with, we assume, because these plants grow… we have to leave space for these plants to expand.”

While an exact budget for the project hasn’t been set, Turnbull estimates the plants will cost about $3,000. Several other costs for the project have already been covered by donors, including the dirt to fill in the islands.

All the necessary road flagging for the next phases of the project will be donated by Club Towing.