City’s blooms to compete world-wide

Council has given the green light for the city to compete in Communities in Bloom at the international level

Council has given the green light for the city to compete in Communities in Bloom at the international level, in spite of concerns over the budget.

After winning at the national level and receiving a perfect five “blooms,” the city was invited to compete on the world stage.

Members of the Communities in Bloom Committee attended the Jan. 17 council meeting, asking councillors to support registration in the international competition.

In order to participate, the city must be registered by the end of the month and must pay a $950 registration fee.

The committee was also asking for $27,000 to come out the parks and recreation budget.

Coun. Mary Storry was wary of approving the registration when there is no certainty that the city will be able to afford the committee’s budget.

“I’m concerned because of the timing,” Storry said. “I love this project, but because it’s coming out of the parks budget, and we’re about to go into some serious budget discussions (I’m concerned). What happens if we register and then the budget is not there?”

Parks manager Lynn Wark said it would depend on how the budget is impacted and, if need be, the committee could look at reducing the scope of work.

Last year, the city showed off initiatives such as the Adopt-A-Highway program, the annual garden contest, and community workshops to the Communities in Bloom judges.

The city also unveiled some new programs: Awards for great curb appeal; a Willow Point beautification survey; and entry in the Christmas parade.

Campbell River won the 20,001-50,000 population category at the national level. The city also received special mention for the Baikie Island Restoration project, the Sustainable Development Award and an award for the best community exhibit at November’s Communities in Bloom symposium and awards ceremony in Quebec.

Judges Normand Rose and Betty Lamont visited the city last July and evaluated the community based on tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, and floral displays, with community involvement a big factor in each area.

Coun. Ryan Mennie asked the committee if it would be interested in competing again at the national level.

“I appreciate…that Communities in Bloom is not just about flowers, which I used to think it was, but about civic pride,” Mennie said. “Are you still interested in the national level?”

Wark said the committee was not invited to compete at the national level again, and if it wants to take part, the city must register in the international competition. Wark also said it gives the city the chance to get better.

“The committee has chosen to compete at the international level because we want to keep improving,” said Wark.

who added if the city does not compete in 2012 it would have to start over from the beginning, at the provincial level, in 2013.