Communities in Bloom judges Lorna McIlroy (left) and JoAnne Dunphy look up at a tree on the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa grounds while on a tour of the community led by a volunteer committee Wednesday.

Judges visit Harrison to Bloom awards

But contest is not just about flowers

The judges for the national Communities in Bloom competition were in Harrison Hot Springs Wednesday, looking for ways that the community meets their high criteria.

The judges in this year’s competition are Lorna McIlroy from Grande Prairie, AB and JoAnne Dunphy from Souris, PEI. While walking along the lakefront with the local CIB committee members, the judges had a chance to briefly meet Ian Maw, director of sales and marketing at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa.

They also took a quick tour through that facility, stopping to look at the pools and gardens that visitors often see, but residents sometimes do not.

McIlroy says that’s often the case when they’re judging communities.

“It’s a real pleasure to walk around a community,” she said, while strolling down the lake’s shore. “We get to see more than the residents get to see, quite often.”

The pair has already been to three of the other communities competing in the national contest, in the 1,501 to 3,000 population category: Dawson City, YT; Montague, PEI; and Chetwynd, B.C.

They’ll also visit Ashcroft, Killarney-Turtle Mountain, MB and Unity, SK.

The committee noted that although the competition uses a series of “bloom” awards to name a winner, it’s about much more than flowers.

Qualified volunteer CiB judges visit participating communities and evaluate each one on its overall performance in the following criteria: tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape, turf & groundcovers, floral displays, and community involvement.

The evaluation is based on the local conditions and achievements of citizens, businesses, organizations, institutions and the municipal government working together towards common objectives. The detailed evaluation reports identify each community’s strengths, and provide suggestions for improvement. The communities become part of an extensive information exchange network with other participants in a dynamic and rewarding process for continuous improvement.

Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility, beautification and to improving quality of life through community participation and a national challenge.

The results will be announced at the 17th National Awards Ceremonies, hosted this year by the National Battlefields Commission in Quebec City, on October 29.

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