City blooms with recognition

Two awards have been bestowed upon Salmon Arm by the annual British Columbia Communities in Bloom program

Beauty in blossoms: Salmon Arm city parks employee Graham Lewis adds colour and life to a planter in front of the art gallery.

Beauty in blossoms: Salmon Arm city parks employee Graham Lewis adds colour and life to a planter in front of the art gallery.

Even the moose co-operated.

Two awards have been bestowed upon Salmon Arm by the annual British Columbia Communities in Bloom program, awards which resulted from a tour by two judges in July.

During that tour, the judges enjoyed a pleasant surprise, one they recorded in their evaluation of Salmon Arm.

“While the landfill manager Ben Van Nostrand was explaining the workings of the landfill, we were surprised, and pleased, to be joined by an uninvited participant. A cow moose, which, along with her young calf, ran across the airfield to jump the fence of the leachate pond, apparently to take advantage of the cool water on a very hot day.”

Each year, Communities in Bloom judges assess participating communities on the accomplishments of four sectors: municipal, private, corporate and institutional. This year 18 B.C. communities participated; the province encompasses 162 municipalities altogether. Judges consider eight criteria: tidiness, environmental action, community involvement, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape, turf and ground covers, and floral displays. All participating communities, unless entered as non-competitive, receive a rating of one to five ‘Blooms.’

Salmon Arm received a Four Blooms award with a special mention of the ‘amazing mosaic tile wall at the Ross Street Plaza.’

In general comments in their 18-page report, the judges wrote: “We were amazed by, and most impressed with, the 40-foot-wide, eight-foot-high, mosaic tiled wall behind the bandstand at the downtown Ross Street Plaza. Kudos to Tracey Kutschker, Shuswap District Arts Council director, who designed the wall with the help of Glen Anderson of Vancouver. Thanks are due to the many volunteers, especially the local school children, who spent many, many hours breaking tiles, organizing boxes of different colours and installing the mosaic over a period of many days…”

Salmon Arm also received a Criteria Award for tidiness.

Judges’ comments on tidiness included: “Along the highway coming into and leaving Salmon Arm, the area was refreshingly tidy and clean. A great first impression! Our walkabout in Downtown Salmon Arm was a pleasant, inviting stroll through a clean and tidy business district…”

The judges also complimented the city on its pesticide bylaw and, as with all categories, made a few recommendations. For tidiness, the suggestions included holding a ‘weed day’ or ‘weed day events’ to get members of the community, schools and sports teams involved in weeding medians and public areas. They also suggested placing themed litter containers, with three ports for paper, cans and garbage, throughout the downtown.

In terms of environmental action, the judges made note of several environmentally friendly attributes, such as Blackburn Park’s rubber playground surface made from recycled tires; city hall’s energy-efficient design complete with geothermal heating and cooling; a compost mix in sand to retain moisture at the sports fields at Little Mountain; the state of the art UV-treatment water plant; and Marine Peace Park and the foreshore providing a home to up to 400 species of birds.

Again, one recommendation was to provide more recycling bins.

Under heritage conservation, the judges raved about R.J. Haney Heritage Village, and made note of the historic routes around the city.

Regarding landscaping, judges termed Salmon Arm’s “impressive.”

They also complimented the floral displays, noting that “the most striking visual impression in downtown Salmon Arm has to be the incredible hanging baskets.”

Overall, the judges praised the community highly.

“Salmon Arm has many attributes that are worthy of recognition, and you are to be commended on the accomplishments so far. You are very close to becoming a Five Blooms Community.”

Barriere was the other Four Blooms community named this year. The districts of Hope, Sooke and Maple Ridge received Five Blooms awards, while Trail is considered a ‘steward city’ by the program, competing at the international level.