It seems some grouches are not happy unless they are complaining about something.
Hence the Sound Off in yesterday’s paper kvetching that the city has bought new planters.
“Why is the city wasting taxpayers’ money on such unimportant changes?” groused the anonymous submitter. “The new planters (are) ugly plastic rectangular objects that look like small coffins!”
We beg to differ —no one could seriously think that a series of hearses lost their loads along every stretch of boulevard in the city. And frankly, we would be happy to be laid to rest with such lovely floral bouquets adorning our caskets.
But setting aside the design, we don’t think it’s fair to find such immediate fault with the new planters.
While the old planters were much larger, and made a more immediate, dramatic impact when they were placed each spring along the boulevards, there are many, many more of the new planters. This means they can be placed in more areas, including at entrances to parks, than the old ones.
We look forward to seeing the planters fill out at little bit as the season progresses.
And even slightly smaller sprays of flowers will eliminate the perennial concern about sightlines. Some of the very large grassy displays in years past have been placed uncomfortably close to intersections, causing issues for left-turning drivers.
We’re also told that the new planters are better at retaining water, meaning that even though there are more of them, city workers will have to tend to them less often. That’s excellent.
Certainly, we admit that they look a little more temporary than the older style. But summer’s temporary itself. So consider them to be a bit of a memento mori — a reminder that even the hottest of July days will soon be just a memory as we shiver in December’s wind chill.
Instead of boulevards full of petunias, we’ll be trying to keep a poinsettia alive as we drive home past boulevards piled high with snow and ice windrows.
Won’t worrywarts look back on the planters then and feel a little foolish that they fussed over their size and shape.
We would hope so.
But we expect there will be more than enough Sound Offs to choose from, each telling the city precisely how it has failed to sand the roads properly yet again, and by the way, about those terrible Christmas lights …
Meanwhile, if we did have to make one suggestion, it’s that the city buy even more of these new planters. The smaller size means they are appropriate for many new areas. They could replace the Jersey barriers on Ninth Street downtown, for example. Or they could be used as bollards to keep vehicles off bike and walking paths.
We are perfectly happy that Brandon continues to place such a priority on decorating our boulevards for the all-too-short summer season. We’ve been proud, as a community, to regularly place so highly in the national Communities in Bloom competitions.
Last year, Brandon was the recipient of an outstanding achievement award for urban forestry in the competitions, while in 2012, the city’s efforts received a five-bloom rating and a special mention for outstanding private and public gardens.
In 2011, the city garnered special honours for its floral displays, and this year the judges will be touring the city on July 19 and 20 — dates that coincide with the annual heritage building and open garden tours.
This year, as always, we join the city in urging Brandonites to get out and spruce up their yards and neighbourhoods. But it’s not only about the judges and the awards.
We just like living in a nice-looking city.