City considers rejoining Communities in Bloom

CAMPBELL RIVER—City won national competition in 2011 but budget constraints led to withdrawal from program in 2013

The city will consider rejoining the Communities in Bloom beautification program in 2015.City council received a letter from Communities in Bloom last week outlining the program and asking the city to consider re-entering.

“We would love to invite the City of Campbell River back into the Communities in Bloom program,” wrote Don Alberg, chair of the B.C. branch of Communities in Bloom.

Council, however, chose to refer Alberg’s letter to the city’s Communities in Bloom committee and the garden club for its recommendations before making any decisions.

The city withdrew from Communities in Bloom in 2013 after being on a two-year hiatus from the program due to budget constraints.

Nigel Lambeth, who chaired the city’s Communities in Bloom committee, said while the program fosters civic pride it was also a huge undertaking that the city had not been able to afford in recent years.

“The committee feels that the national Communities in Bloom program offers an excellent system for measuring the performance of a community in eight key areas, related to beautification and sustainability,” Lambeth said in October, 2013. “However, the commitment to compete, from a financial and volunteer effort perspective, is enormous.

”After hearing from Lambeth and the rest of the committee, council made the difficult decision to pull out of Communities in Bloom – a program in which the city found a lot of success.

In 2011, Campbell River won the national competition with a score of 85 per cent and was invited to compete in 2012 at the international level.

The $26,000 fee to enter, however, was too rich for the city and the decision was made to withdraw.

Instead, the committee evolved into a Community Beautification group which took on low-cost activities such as community clean-up days, broom bashes, recognition programs for businesses and residents, community workshops, the Adopt-A-Highway program, and provided recommendations to city council on beautification matters.

But the committee may choose to re-enter the Communities in Bloom program, and if it does, Alberg said the city does have some options as a former ‘Bloom’ community.

The city could enter the evaluated program to re-establish its bloom rating and could compete at the national level in 2016 if the city is eligible, or it could enter a novice program to introduce Communities in Bloom to a new committee group. Alternatively, the city could elect to participate in a non-evaluated category to maintain a B.C. Communities in Bloom profile for active projects.

The city has until March 31 to register for Communities in Bloom should it choose to do so.