Communities in Bloom is just that – community volunteers pitching in to beautify surroundings and foster civic pride through planting and growing gardens.
So taking home an Outstanding Achievement Award in Community Involvement for the first time is particularly noteworthy for the Trail group who, in this category, was up against a number of cities no matter the size or population.
“We’re pretty excited about winning the Community Achievement award based on our work creating the White Garden,” says volunteer Lana Rodlie. “So many volunteers and various businesses and organizations helped – like Kootenay Savings, Telus, Rotary and Columbia Gardens Greenhouses,” she explained. “The garden was professionally designed by Chris Holt of Lakewood Landscapes, but the work: most of the planting was done by volunteers.”
The community achievement category is sponsored by Home Hardware, so there is a bonus attached with the win.
“So with the award comes a ‘Day with Mark Cullen,’” said Rodlie, referring to well known Canadian media personality and gardener, Mark Cullen. “He will fly into town to visit with volunteers and be available for “whatever we want,” he told us.”
The CiB committee will meet to pick a date and organize an event, she added.
On top of community achievement, the city also maintained its five bloom rating at the CiB 2016 National/International Symposium and Awards Ceremonies held in Regina over the weekend.
Trail was also competing against past CiB winners, including Castlegar, in the medium category called the Class of Champions. Judges Lorna McIlroy and Mauro Franco Paradisi arrived in the city to adjudicate in early July.
For the big award, both Trail and Castlegar walked away empty handed.
“We were wiped out by Charlottetown, P.E.I. which is a pretty hard city to beat,” said Rodlie.
However, beside community achievement and five blooms, the city did receive a special mention for “Exploring Trail on Two Wheels.”
In their evaluation, McIlroy and Paradisi acknowledged the city’s “Explore Your Trail” tagline and unique city features such as the covered staircases and the incrEDIBLE Green Route in the downtown.
“However, this year several projects encourage you to explore Trail on two wheels,” the judges noted. “At Gyro Park, bicycles are available for rent, providing a perfect way to enjoy the parks, murals, statues and floral displays or the forests around Trail using the hiking and biking trails while promoting a healthy lifestyle … In May a local business promoted a ‘Ride Your Bike to Work’ day which increased ridership. On a whimsical note, Bike Alley was created by a local businessman and now has 31 ‘flowered up’ bikes providing colour and enjoyment.”
They also highlighted the walking bridge, which was under heavy construction during their visit.
“This fall an amazing new bridge will open, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to safely cross the Columbia River Skywalk.”
Volunteer judges travelled to participating communities to evaluate the overall contributions of municipal council and departments; industry; businesses and the private sector – including volunteer efforts – in regards to the following criteria: Tidiness, Environmental Action, Heritage Conservation, Urban Forestry, Landscape and Floral Displays.