Trail scores five blooms in international competition

Trail is holding on to its blooming record but has dropped its overall score in the Communities In Bloom competition.

Trail is holding on to its blooming record but has dropped its overall score in a competition that fosters civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement.

Trail Community in Bloom (CiB) secured five blooms and received a score of 82.75 per cent in the Communities in Bloom international challenge for small population.

Though the city has dropped seven per cent since competing in a national competition last year, Trail CiB chair Dan Rodlie said the smelter community has come along way.

“We’re moving ahead and that’s all we’re hoping to do,” he told the Times Sunday, after accepting Trail’s marks at an award ceremony Saturday in Quebec City. “We’re getting better, sure we’re not succeeding in everything, but I would have to be proud of what has happened over the last 10-plus years.”

Trail has established itself as a front runner among its competitors, acting as a mentor for not only surrounding communities like Castlegar – which scored five blooms in the national category for communities with a population of 7,501-10,000 – but places like Summerside, P.E.I., which gave the city special recognition when accepting its national win this weekend.

The city has taken home five blooms, essentially the maximum amount of points, since 2006 and won its national category in 2006 and 2010.

After moving up to an international level this year, Trail was up against eight other cities  – communities as far as the UK – and ended up in the middle of the pack with a score that could be a reflection of the high calibre international competition or stricter judgment.

But Rodlie said the city’s report from the judges, who toured in July, doesn’t necessarily reflect the score received and he plans on verifying its accuracy.

“We definitely maintained our five blooms, which is what we strive for,” he said. “I was quite surprised, there were several major communities that lost their five-bloom rating.”

The city received special recognition for the Shavers Bench entrance park and the judges noted that the neighbourhood garden is a real testament to its volunteers who make projects alike possible.

Though several high notes were taken from the competition, Rodlie admits there is room for improvement and it can take the judges to point flaws out.

“We’re sometimes blinded and don’t see what’s going on in our own backyard,” he said. “For example, we have a lot of dead trees in our neighbourhoods and we probably drive past them every day.”

The judges would like to see the city assist homeowners and business owners with renovations through some kind of program, suggested that J. L. Crowe’s green team be motivated back into action, encourage more sustainable flora in community beds and felt it’s time to cover up historical graffiti.

“The Graffiti Grannies have done such a splendid job of mitigating graffiti throughout the city, yet the huge display of graffiti on the rocks above the hospital and school appears to be sanctioned,” it was noted in the judges’ report. “The judges feel this sends an unfortunate message to the youth and it is quite unsightly.”

Competitors are judged on tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscaped areas, turf and groundcovers, floral displays and community involvement.

Rodlie said the local committee has yet to decide on which category it will compete in next year, adding that it could again enter the international portion, take the provincial route and act as a mentor or try for other programs like the “circle of excellence.”