After a discussion about the long-standing tradition of beautiful hanging baskets on Queen Street, and more recently the other four communities, the basket program has been cancelled for this year.
Every February, about $10,000 worth of small plants are ordered from local growers and in early May, are planted in baskets in the Town greenhouses and grown on until they fill the baskets.
The baskets, in the early days a project of the NOTL Horticultural Society as a gift to the town, have always been much admired by visitors.
But not this year.
“After careful deliberation with the Emergency Control Group, and in consultation with council, the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has decided to cancel its 2020 hanging basket program,” said an announcement last week.
“While this may be understandably disappointing for some, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the Town to make difficult decisions with respect to staff and budgeting. Cancellation of the hanging basket program will save the Town $51,000.”
Staff create and install about 230 baskets each year.
While on display, the baskets require regular maintenance, which is performed by contract staff. Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Town has had to lay off a number of contract staff and postponed the rehiring of summer contract staff, the announcement said.
“The reality is that this program is simply not feasible at this time,” says interim CAO Sheldon Randall. “We understand and share in residents’ disappointment, and we are looking forward to the hanging baskets returning to Niagara-
on-the-Lake in 2021.”
To review all Town updates related to COVID-19, read answers to frequently asked questions, and see up-to-date information on the status of Town services, visit notl.com/COVID-19, or call 905-468-3266.
Town staff will continue to assist and serve citizens online and over the phone between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.