Communities in Bloom judges to return to Strathmore

·3 min read

Strathmore will once again be competing at the provincial level of Communities in Bloom this summer and is preparing to host the judges come August.

Rob Pirie, spokesperson for Strathmore’s Communities in Bloom, presented to the Town Committee of the Whole meeting on June 8 to inform them of the situation and the goals for the town prior to the judges’ arrival.

“In 2018 the judges were impressed with our downtown and it was only half done,” said Pirie. “Our pathway system is very extensive and thanks to our partnership with Western Irrigation District, our pathway system is something to brag about.”

Communities in Bloom evaluates municipalities based on a grading system out of five “blooms” that are awarded based on several categories.

During the 2018 evaluation, Strathmore was awarded five out of five blooms by the provincial judges.

The town will be evaluated in six areas including: community appearance, environmental action, heritage conservation, tree management, landscape, and plant and floral displays.

Points towards blooms will be awarded in those categories based on the town’s tidiness and lack of garbage, environmental stewardship, conservation efforts and trees and landscaping, among other criteria.

Strathmore had originally planned to welcome the Communities in Bloom judges back to the community in 2020, but the event was cancelled due to ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19 at the time.

The town has been provided with an evaluation guide and to-do list to work through prior to the judges’ arrival and the evaluation event.

According to Pirie, local Communities in Bloom members and town staff have already begun to prepare for the evaluation event.

“Our commitment to the environment is evident by our recycle yard, our composting, our solar panels on (our town hall), the field house, and of course, the new solar farm,” said Pirie. “Our new town hall with the numerous trees, the First Nations healing garden (and) the farmers market are all something to show off.”

Judges will be evaluating not only town owned areas, but also businesses, institutions and residential areas. To prepare for this, Communities in Bloom will be reaching out to the Strathmore Wheatland Chamber of Commerce and local business community to request their best efforts towards the evaluation.

Public involvement in beautifying and maintaining the town is also included in the evaluation. This includes participation such as volunteerism to plant trees, picking up garbage and litter and volunteering for local celebrations.

Pirie said he is confident that with the help of the community, Strathmore has good odds of once again being awarded five out of five blooms, if not winning the provincial evaluation for the bragging rights.

“Strathmore has done a lot since 2018 … last year Strathmore planted about 350 trees … we’ve had the new tree bylaw (and) our pathways have expanded,” said Pirie. “Since that time, we have completed the new Town Hall with various trees, we have the healing garden and all those are all things that they look at.”

The judges will arrive in town on Aug. 4 and will be shown a tour of Strathmore to showcase its development and the beautified community.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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