A pair of Communities in Bloom (CIB) judges touched down in Castlegar on Sunday, touching off a three-day whirlwind of escorted action. Castlegar once again has mounted a concerted effort towards the CIB program and is especially hopeful and excited this year, competing on the international level.
From the airport in the early afternoon, Lucie Gagne of Quebec and Piet Boersma of the Netherlands were whisked out to the Blueberry Community School Hub for presentation on some of the ecology-related programs for kids.
It was then time to get ready for the annual barbecue and awards night put on by the local CIB committee at the Pass Creek Fairgrounds. Gagne and Boersma were doing all they could to remember names during the rapid-fire introductions, and were also enjoying the cuisine and scenery.
“I have been in B.C. once before,” said Gagne before taking her place in the burger line, “it was in Vancouver. But this is a beautiful place you’ve got here with the rivers and the mountains. (laughing) I wouldn’t leave this place.”
Boersma, a late substitute with little benefit of advance planning for the trip, indicated this was an introduction for him, and a pleasant one at that.
“For me it’s new.” he said. “It’s a nice experience.”
The pair had started in Ireland and had moved west to Fogo Island which is just off the coast of Newfoundland. They also had stops booked in Trail plus Stettler and Jasper, Alberta, and Killarney/Turtle Mountain, Manitoba. Gagne offered kudos to the locals for a good effort to date.
“Now, Castlegar, you are up to the International contest, This is the most prestigious category that we have in the competition. You’re competing against the best of the best.”
The non-profit CIB movement has evolved a lot since its inception, something Gagne gave a brief update on.
“It used to be a contest about the nicest towns, and blooming flowers,” Gagne explained. “We also look at tidiness, we look at the environmental action, we look at heritage protection, of course we look at the landscape and urban forestry.”
Piet Boersma said he could think of one CIB entrant in his homeland, while Lucie Gagne said there was a similar initiative in Quebec with upwards of 300 communities involved.
The two judges had themselves an action packed three- day visit with the local tour, before being whisked away for their following stop down the highway in Trail.
Results of the sizable efforts of the local Communities in Bloom Committee will be divulged during a massive ceremony in Prince Edward Island -held from September 17-20.