Communities in Bloom: Trail bloomin’ in eyes of visitors

At first glance, many of the weekend’s out-of-towners thought Trail might no longer be an industrial centre.

At first glance, many of the weekend’s out-of-towners thought Trail might no longer be an industrial centre.

The former dusty town has reinvented itself with so many greening projects, that the city’s transformation was quite a surprise to Communities in Bloom (CiB) delegates who were in the Silver City for the 11th Annual CiB Awards and Conference.

“A number of people spoke about having come to Trail in the past,” said Mary Martin from the CiB planning committee. “When they drove into Trail, they could not believe it. Some even thought maybe Teck isn’t operating anymore because they didn’t realize how modern Teck is now and how much the emissions have decreased.”

The provincial conference kicked off with a Thursday meet-and-greet dinner, but the real highlight was the White Night event in Jubilee Park the next evening.

About 100 people gathered in the White Garden which was embellished with white lights, white linens and white candles set up amid the thousands of white flowers.

“It was an absolutely beautiful setting and not everyone knows it’s there yet,” said Martin. “But we met our goal which was terrific, because the last provincial conference in B.C. had a lot less people.”

Saturday’s activities included morning workshops and an afternoon of “Look at us NOW” tours of the area, and Martin said guests were particularly taken with the Teck Trail Operations tour, and informative speeches by the company’s General Manager Greg Belland and environmental health scientist, Steve Hilts.

“People learned so much and were very impressed,” she added.

Later, at the award presentations, all participating communities received a rating of one to five ‘Blooms’, and each selected community receives an invitation to participate in the following year’s national program.

Each provincial CiB community receives a detailed report prepared by the touring judges, that features a review of each project undertaken and presented, and offers constructive ways to improve the following year.

Locally, the Village of Silverton received a three bloom rating with a mention of the new way-finding signage in town.

As a novice entry, Nakusp received an honourable mention in recognition of the Wood First Award for the Kuskanax Creek Footbridge at the village’s Hot Springs; and although Fruitvale was not-evaluated, the village received mention.

Topping the list with five blooms was the District of Hope for, “Volunteerism is the RULE in Hope!” the District of Sooke for an updated community profile book; and the District of Maple Ridge, for municipal floral paintings.

This year, the City of Trail is competing at the international level and has Trail CiB representatives ready to fly to Charlottetown, P.E.I, for the National Symposium Awards slated to begin Wednesday. The Trail group hopes to win two outstanding achievement awards, one for Landscapes, and the other for Community of Gardeners.