Volunteers for Castlegar Communities in Bloom have been hard at work making final preparations for this year’s competition. Weeds have been pulled, bushes trimmed, flowers watered, a new flag is flying, and art by local students has been installed on Columbia Avenue.
The judges will arrive Sunday morning and will be in town through Tuesday.
Last year Castlegar was recognized as a 5 Bloom International Small Population Category winner. Five is the highest number of blooms awarded in the competition. This year Castlegar will compete in the Class of Champions competition, the second highest competitive level in the program.
Evaluations are made in six areas: tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape and floral design. Points earned are then calculated into a percentage and blooms are awarded based on those figures.
The judging includes evaluations of how the municipal, business, institutional and residential sectors have participated in each of the judging areas. The principle of community involvement is so fundamental to the program that it is considered in each segment of the evaluation.
Tidiness includes overall tidiness efforts in green spaces, medians, boulevards, sidewalks, streets, properties, ditches, road shoulders, vacant lots, signs and buildings, weed control, liter clean-up and graffiti and vandalism programs.
Environmental action encompasses the efforts and achievements of the community with respect to: policies, by-laws, programs and best practices, waste reduction and diversion rate to landfill, composting sites, landfill sites, hazardous waste collections, water conservation, naturalization, and environmental stewardship activities under the guiding principles of sustainable development pertaining to green spaces.
Heritage Conservation includes efforts to preserve natural heritage within the community with focus on the integration of landscape and streetscapes in built heritage, preservation of natural heritage pertaining to monuments, memorials, artifacts, museums and history, archives, traditions, customs, festivals and celebrations in relation to parks and green spaces in the community. The participation of groups such as Historical Societies and Conservation Groups are considered.
Urban Forestry evaluates the efforts of the municipality, businesses, institutions and citizens with regards to written policies, by-laws, standards for tree management, long and short-term management plans, tree replacement policies, tree inventory, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), heritage, memorial and commemorative trees.
Landscape includes planning, design, construction and maintenance of parks and green spaces suitable for the intended use and location on a year-round basis. Elements for evaluation include: native and introduced materials; balance of plants, materials and constructed elements; appropriate integration of hard surfaces and art elements, use of turf and ground covers.
Floral Displays evaluates efforts to design, plan, execute, and maintain floral displays of high quality standards. Evaluation includes the design and arrangements of flowers and plants (annuals, perennials, bulbs, ornamental grasses) in the context of originality, distribution, location, diversity and balance, colour, and harmony. This pertains to flowerbeds, carpet bedding, containers, baskets and window boxes.
In preparation for the judging, Communities in Bloom organizers would like to encourage all residents and businesses to take just a bit of extra time this week to tidy and beautify their properties. Castlegar has always done well in the past in the area of community involvement.
Another way to show your support is to attend the ceremony at the Robson Interchange to honour the sponsors of the new flag pole Monday, July 27 at 9 a.m. This event will be a stop on the judge’s tour and a show of support from the community would be helpful.