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Nearing 4,000 volunteer hours, Trail ready to shine for judges

Trail competing in Class of Champions along with Bruderheim, Alta and Kinistino, Sask.
Communities in Bloom judges will land in Trail on Thursday and depart July 22. Photo: Rachael Brown

With Class of Champion judges on their way to the city, volunteers with Trail Community in Bloom are asking citizens to do their part in tidying the town.

“What we try to tell homeowners is, your property doesn’t stop with your gate,” says Dan Rodlie, committee chair.

“If you see a weed growing in the boulevard in front of your house, go out and pull it,” he suggests. “Make it like you are going to sell your house or business, make it presentable.”

The greening of Trail neighbourhoods has been underway for months, as the city readies to compete in the 29th edition of Communities in Bloom (CiB) in the Class of Champions category along with Bruderheim, Alta and Kinistino, Sask.

The community will be rated from 1 to 5 Blooms, and Trail CiB is aiming to obtain bronze, silver or gold in their 5-Bloom rating.

Arriving Thursday (July 20) are CiB judges Martin Quinn from Goderich, Ont., and Anthony O’Neill from North Saanich, B.C.

How adjudication works is that over 60 per cent of the judging criteria relates directly to “the environment, sustainability and climate change.”

Each competitor will receive a comprehensive judging report. This will feature 78 specific elements in seven categories to provide feedback to each community. Those categories are: floral displays, landscapes, turf and ground covers, urban forestry, community involvement, heritage conservation, environmental awareness and tidiness.

“Remember, the judges are evaluating your community based on its potential; what you do with what you have,” CiB clarifies. “Your community is not being compared with other communities.”

As well, judges are required to include specific suggestions for areas of improvement; often providing a basis for municipal budget considerations.

“The CiB program takes in what everybody in town does,” Rodlie says. “So, keeping a home with ‘curb appeal,’ a nice garden, neat boulevards and debris-free neighbourhoods is all part of the program. Hence, CiB thanks the overwhelming community of gardeners in Trail.”

Rachael Brown, Trail CiB contract gardener, said she’s particularly proud of community involvement this year, with an estimated 125 volunteers coming to lend a hand to beautify and tidy the city.

Volunteers came together to transport flowers from Columbia Valley Greenhouse to the airport for planting. Photo: Trail CiB
Volunteers came together to transport flowers from Columbia Valley Greenhouse to the airport for planting. Photo: Trail CiB

“In previous years, Trail Community in Bloom averaged around 3,000 hours of volunteer labour,” Brown notes. “This year we are closer to 4,000 hours.”

Volunteers have been removing graffiti around town, talking with businesses about cleaning up and planting their storefronts, helping put up hanging baskets, weeding, planting and dividing canna lilies, pruning, cleaning-up garden beds, and tidying downtown.

“They’ve even been identifying strands of camassia quamash (a protected heritage plant),” Brown shares.

Trail CiB also had an outpouring of donations; $1,100 for flowers at the Trail Regional Airport, hundreds of flowers donated by Bill Garnett at Columbia Valley Greenhouse, tools donated after the CiB truck was broken into, Brown adds.

“The community pride in Trail has been evident for us and it has been a joy to watch it grow.”

National and international results will be announced in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo, Alta., from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, during the National Symposium on Parks and Grounds and the National and International Awards celebrating “Northern Blooms.”

Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit volunteer and partnership-driven organization that uses a multi-tiered competitive evaluation process to foster community strength, involvement, and continuous improvement. This is accomplished by nurturing environmental sustainability, enhancements of green spaces, and heritage conservation in cultural and natural environments encompassing municipal, residential, commercial, and institutional spaces.

CiB describes their vision as one that inspires all communities to enhance the quality of life and environment through people and plants.

“Growing Great Places Together” is the CiB slogan, as it captures the essence of the program.

CiB adds, “All those involved in the Communities in Bloom program can be proud of their efforts, benefiting all of society by providing real and meaningful ways to mitigate climate change.”

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Sheri Regnier

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