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Port Moody hoping to realize boulevards of colourful greens

Port Moody will publish guidelines for boulevard gardens on its website.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, grounded flight attendant Francois Guernon planted the boulevard near his Pleasantside home with colourful flowers.

Port Moody is hoping its residents won’t walk its empty streets alone.

It’s implementing guidelines to encourage homeowners to beautify and maintain the boulevards in front of their properties and enhance the city’s sense of community.

Jeff Moi, Port Moody’s general manager of engineering and operations, said the city already allows residents to maintain boulevards. But the new guidelines will help guide more creative flourishes while ensuring plantings are appropriate, maintenance requirements can be maintained and public safety ensured.

In a report presented Tuesday, May 21, to council’s strategic priorities committee, the city’s corporate planning advisor, Ian Smedley, said boulevard gardening has been gaining popularity as a way to beautify public spaces and promote climate action goals. He said boulevard gardens can contribute to urban cooling and even improve air quality.

Smedley said they also help build community by creating a sense of pride and collaboration. He said working on boulevard gardens “creates opportunities for neighbours to connect, share knowledge and build lasting relationships.”

But several challenges persist, added Smedley, including:

  • establishing maintenance standards to mitigate overgrowth and visual clutter
  • safety so gardens don’t attract bears or pose hazards
  • water usage
  • maintaining clear communication between the city and boulevard gardeners so infrastructure isn’t impacted

The draft guidelines include examples of appropriate plants that emphasize diversity to maximize flowering periods, provide habitat for pollinators, are drought-resistant and don’t attract bears.

Prospective gardeners will also be encouraged to check for buried utilities before digging a spade into the ground and they won’t be able to include hard surfaces or structures like rocks, gravel, bricks, figurines or planters. Shrubs will have to less than .6 metres tall and there must be a 1-metre clearance around fire hydrants.

A full list of the guidelines will be published on the city’s website.

Coun. Samantha Agtarap said she’s excited about the possibilities boulevard gardens will bring to the city and its residents.

“This is a great opportunity for residents who may not have access to a big back yard to get their hands dirty,” she said. “This could be an interesting community-building endeavour.”

Coun. Kyla Knowles said boulevard gardens will only enhance Port Moody’s natural splendour.

“This will go a long way to beautifying our city.”