Elizabeth Martin used to enjoy her view of tiger lilies growing from the ditch near her Old Town home.
Now her view is of a stretch of straw-coloured sod that has taken their place.
In the spring, a watermain was replaced at the corner of Gage and Victoria Streets, and in spite of that work, says Martin, the lilies came up and were healthy.
However, for some reason she hasn’t been able to discover, they were dug up in June, and replaced with sod on July 3.
She thinks the sod was watered once, before someone came to her door, she thought from the Town, to ask if she could water it.
“I’m 85 years old,” she says. “I told him I don’t think I can do that.”
Martin received a letter from the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, dated July 9, saying the recent installation of the sod “was unsuccessful.”
It blames “the increase in temperature and the inability to provide a sufficient amount of water to promote healthy sod growth.”
It says the Town, the consultant and contractor will “review the sod” at the end of the 120-day warranty period and “replace all sodded areas that did not survive.”
“The tiger lilies were beautiful. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have been left where they were,” says Martin. “Every year I looked forward to them.”
She questions how the contractor and town staff, or whomever was responsible for laying the sod, didn’t know it was not a good idea in the midst of a heat wave, especially if water was not readily available.
“I’m pretty sure if I asked my 10-year-old grandson, he’d say you don’t put sod down in this heat.”
Lauren Kruitbosch, the Town’s community engagement coordinator, confirmed the work being done in that area is a public works capital project, and that town staff have followed up with the resident directly.
“The decision to replace the day lilies with sod was made together with town staff, the contractor and the consultant,” she says.
“As for watering the sod, the landscaper offered a $100 incentive to each homeowner on the street to assist with additional watering in an effort to mitigate the effects of this extreme heat on the growing sod. While the contractor is responsible for ensuring and carrying out watering efforts, the request of homeowners was to provide additional watering measures above and beyond what the contractor is already supplying.”
She says further communication was being arranged between the Town and the residents impacted by this change.