The mystery of Yellowknife’s own Stonehenge continued on Thursday, when passersby on Franklin Avenue alerted Cabin Radio to the disappearance of freshly installed large boulders from the median.
Residents had questioned the purpose of the rocks after they appeared in mid-July. The City of Yellowknife subsequently said the rocks were laid in neat circles to protect soon-to-be-planted saplings from the elements.
However, visiting the site of the boulders on Thursday morning, Cabin Radio reporters confirmed they had indeed vanished – with the exception of one small, lonely rock left behind.
Some sleuthing soon revealed the rocks had been piled along the side of the nearby Fieldhouse parking lot.
Richard McIntosh, a spokesperson for the City, said there had been “some changes” to the project following concerns about visibility and damage to snow removal equipment.
Councillor Niels Konge had briefly raised these potential issues at the end of a council meeting on July 22.
Instead of putting large boulders in circles around the new trees, which have still to be planted, the City now plans to use “smaller rocks placed on either side in a row.”
“This protects the trees and makes road maintenance and snow clearing easier; as well, using smaller rocks will address any concerns about visibility and minimize damage in the event of any accidents,” McIntosh wrote to Cabin Radio.
Meanwhile, the City is working to find the abandoned boulders new homes.
“We have been working with our contractor to relocate the rocks that were on the median to other locations around town where landscaping is taking place this summer,” said McIntosh, indicating residents will be able to find the rocks at city parks, including Parker Park.
The boulders’ unlikely hokey-pokey drew criticism from some residents on Facebook, particularly those who felt the larger rocks were being withdrawn in the face of public pressure.
“This is why we can’t have nice things! We are constantly caving on decisions because of public opinion,” wrote Yellowknife resident Tara Marchiori, while others questioned the cost of moving the rocks multiple times. (That cost was not clear at the time of publication.)
Opinion on what would look best on the median was split.
“I am happy to see the rocks gone,” one commenter declared. “They were pretty ugly.”
But another responded: “Give us back our henges.”