Campbell River turns down Communities in Bloom program

Campbell River turns down invitation to participate in a special edition of Communities in Bloom

Campbell River will not participate in a special edition of Communities in Bloom this year.

At its Monday meeting, council made the decision to decline an invitation from the beautification program, citing too many prior commitments.

Ross Milnthorp, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture, said city staff do not have the time nor the resources to take part in Communities in Bloom (CIB).

“The city has a number of large projects/events scheduled for 2017 and staff are fully engaged in executing the 2017 work plan and do not have the capacity to undertake the work necessary to participate in the CIB program,” Milnthorp said.

The city’s Community Services, Recreation and Culture Commission, which is made up of members from the public, agreed that taking on Communities in Bloom this year would likely not be possible.

“The commission discussed the capacity of the community volunteer base and the level of volunteer effort needed to host these events,” wrote Coun. Colleen Evans, chair of the commission, in a report to council. “The commission concluded that adding the Communities in Bloom event to the already extensive schedule of events in 2017 may not be feasible.”

Coun. Charlie Cornfield said he agreed with that assessment.

“It’s not something we can take on by ourselves,” Cornfield said. “I think given the timeframe that’s left for 2017, it’s an unrealistic goal but at least we took it back to the people and said ‘what do you think?’ So I’m going to support the motion that we don’t participate this year.”

In 2017 the city is hosting a number of large events, including the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Conference in April which is expected to attract 250 participants, as well as the Vancouver Island Sustainable Technology Expo in June (150 participants), the Elders Gathering in July (3,000-5,000 participants) and Tribal Journeys in August (5,000-7,000 participants).

Milnthorp said those events, on top of the city’s annual events, will already require a “significant amount of volunteer and staff time.”

“Staff believe that recruiting volunteers to organize and coordinate the community around the CIB program will be very difficult,” Milnthorp said.

The city was invited to participate in a special, one-time Communities in Bloom category that celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday this year. Campbell River earned the right to participate as a past national Communities in Bloom winner. The city took the national title in 2011 but withdrew from the competition in 2013 due to budget constraints.