KAMLOOPS – The city is about to be scrutinized not only on its gardens and green spaces but also for its civic pride, and parks supervisor Shawn Cook is confident the city will score well when the international Communities in Bloom judges come to town this weekend.
Bob Ivison of England Alain Capelle of Belgium, the same two judges as last year, will be in Kamloops starting Saturday night and will spend Sunday morning at Tranquille Farm before making their way to Pioneer Park by boat for 2 p.m.
Cook says they have asked residents and the business community to be mindful of the judges coming and hopefully many will clean this week, but city staff will not actually do anything more to prepare than when they prepare for any other event that comes to town.
“We don't put in a lot of extra work for the judges.” Cook says, “We have a pretty good system in terms of maintenance, so we don't have to do a lot more.”
Cook wants to ensure the judges see the city as it really is, including the tree research study at MacArthur Island Park, the new sewage treatment centre and the landfill. The judges will also see residential areas, including some they did not get to tour last time like Batchelor Heights, Aberdeen and Dufferin, and the Y-Dream home which features artificial turf and xeriscaping.
Residents and volunteer groups are being asked to come to Pioneer Park on Sunday when the judges arrive at 2 p.m. to help showcase the civic pride as well. It is one of the many events the committee has planned for the judges while they are in town and it is also a chance for the public to get involved, something that does not normally happen because the judges are usually in town during the week when everyone is working, Cook says.
“It's about showing civic pride–that's what CIB is all about.” Cook notes, “I think we'll do fantastic – we've scored very high definitely the last four or five years. It's just a little different this year because it's the same judges back to back, I haven't seen that before–it creates a whole new opportunity.”
The judges are only in town for two full days and will leave Tuesday morning. During that time they will score the city, competing in the best large community category, on private, public and commercial sectors.
Last year the judges were brought on a tour that included the back alley murals and historical buildings in downtown, the water quality centre, MacArthur Island, Thompson Rivers University and the Tournament Capital Centre.
The judges will be heading to Castlegar after leaving Kamloops and then will head to Trail to judge the cities in the international medium class. Sun Rivers will be judged in the 1,001-2,000 population category of the national competition on July 22. The only other Canadian city set to be judged in the large community class this month is Barrie, Ont. The awards ceremony will take place in Ottawa in October.
The city will be releasing the tour route later this week which will include stops the judges make along the way.
City council will also discuss hosting the 2015 Communities in Bloom conference at the next meeting. Cook is confident the city could easily host the conference but if the decision is made to host the conference the city would not take part in the 2014 competition.
Some of the creative garden spaces by city staff that will be sure to wow the Communities in Bloom judges when they come to town this weekend.
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