Busy Bees on Beau­ti­fi­ca­tion Com­mit­tee

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Stanstead

Abeau­ti­ful town, with well-kept yards, abun­dant flower gar­dens, shrubs and trees ac­cent­ing well-main­tained homes and busi­nesses, is a nice place to visit and an even nicer place to live.

Al­though Stanstead’s Beau­ti­fi­ca­tion Com­mit­tee be­gan only four years ago and its mem­bers are few, many peo­ple have no­ticed that the town seems to look a lit­tle spiffier ev­ery year. The three mem­ber com­mit­tee, Huguette Gre­nier, San­dra Wal­lace Har­ri­son and Marise Trepanier, met with The Stanstead Jour­nal at the town’s Cul­ture and Recre­ation Cen­tre, last Fri­day, to share their am­bi­tious ideas and aes­thetic hopes for the town that all three grew up in.

“It’s very funny how the com­mit­tee got started. I was at a town meet­ing and men­tioned about clean­ing up the town and coun­cilor Michele Richard asked me why not be on a Beau­ti­fi­ca­tion Com­mit­tee. So I helped start the com­mit­tee, there were five of us at the be­gin­ning, but when I had talked about clean­ing the town at the meet­ing, I was just talk­ing about the dirt on the streets,” ex­plained Mrs. Gre­nier.

“Our main man­date is to en­tice peo­ple to beau­tify the front of their homes and busi­nesses,” said Mrs. Trepanier. One way the com­mit­tee ac­com­plishes this is by hold­ing flower gar­den con­tests in the sum­mer and Christ­mas light con­tests in the win­ter. “Our Christ­mas lights con­test, the Feerie de Noel, is re­ally pop­u­lar – more peo­ple are dec­o­rat­ing and we have bet­ter prizes to give away,” said Mrs. Wal­lace Har­ri­son. The gar­den con­tests are also pop­u­lar ex­cept for, sur­pris­ingly enough, the “New Flower Bed” com­pe­ti­tion which has never had a sin­gle en­try!

Al­ways happy to get their hands into the dirt, th­ese three gar­den­ers also plant flow­ers at the town’s mon­u­ments and in the planters at the much-de­bated site at the bor­der be­tween Stanstead and Derby Line, where they were once filmed by a tele­vi­sion crew.

“What we’re re­ally ex­cited about this year is the Fleu­rons du Que­bec. We ap­plied three years ago and in our first eval­u­a­tion we were given three flow­ers which was re­ally good for a first year. The gar­dens at Rock of Ages, Stanstead Col­lege, Bant­ing and Hack­ett Parks helped us earn those three flow­ers. This sum­mer, the Fleu­rons du Que­bec will visit the town again be­cause they re­turn ev­ery three years, so it’s an op­por­tu­nity for us to go for that fourth flower!” said Marise en­thu­si­as­ti­cally.

The Fleu­rons du Que­bec or­ga­ni­za­tion has told the Beau­ti­fi­ca­tion Com­mit­tee where the town needs to im­prove to rate the fourth flower. Three years ago Stanstead scored 187 points out of 310 for mu­nic­i­pal land; 55 out of 140 for com­mer­cial properties; 110 out of 180 for church and school properties; and 123 out of 270 for res­i­den­tial properties. “There’s lots of im­prove­ment to do there,” said Marise.

“We will have to go and start talk­ing to peo­ple soon. We’ll be call­ing busi­nesses, com­merces, stores, churches and schools to ask them to take part in this ini­tia­tive,” said Mrs. Gre­nier. Some have al­ready jumped on the band­wagon: “Place Stanstead has agreed to make gar­dens.”

“Com­mu­nity in­volve­ment is also im­por­tant to gain points from Fleu­rons du Que­bec; the new com­mu­nity gar­den will cer­tainly add points,” said San­dra.

Be­sides be­ing a fun way to get peo­ple in­volved in their own town’s ‘makeover’, there are other ad­van­tages to earn­ing flow­ers from Fleu­rons du Que­bec. “They’ll in­stall spe­cial signs at the en­trances of towns and th­ese signs at­tract tourists. Some tourists even choose their des­ti­na­tions based on the Fleu­rons du Que­bec rat­ings.”

Be­cause of the com­mit­tee’s quest to gain a fourth flower for Stanstead, five in­ter­est­ing sum­mer jobs have been cre­ated. “We had money left from the Youth Coop last year so we de­cided to do some­thing else with that money be­cause the Youth Coop wasn’t meet­ing the needs of the com­mu­nity. This year we want to hire a co­or­di­na­tor and four young adults; we’ve re­ceived five grants for that. The grants are through an Em­ploiQue­bec pro­gram aimed at peo­ple presently not work­ing who would love to get some work ex­pe­ri­ence,” said the com­mit­tee mem­bers.

“They don’t need to have any gar­den­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at all,” stressed Mrs. Wal­lace Har­ri­son. “Be­sides learn­ing about gar­den­ing, they’ll also get train­ing in how to make a bud­get and other life skills like mak­ing a CV,” added Mrs. Trepanier.

To give lo­cal res­i­dents a lit­tle mo­ti­va­tion to get plant­ing, this Fri­day there will be a peren­nial plant ex­change and a free tree give-away at the Town Hall from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. “We al­ways have a va­ri­ety of nice, healthy plants. Peo­ple bring their plants in pots or bags, then get coupons for them that they can ex­change for the plants of their choice. This year we have only one hun­dred trees to give away: fifty spruce and fifty hard­wood trees,” said Mrs. Trepanier. On Satur­day, the town will be giv­ing away free com­post at the mu­nic­i­pal garage, be­tween 9:00 am and 1:00 pm.

The Beau­ti­fi­ca­tion Com­mit­tee is al­ways look­ing for new mem­bers to share their ideas and knowhow, and res­i­dents are al­ways wel­come to con­sult any one of the com­mit­tee mem­bers with their gar­den­ing ques­tions or ex­te­rior house colour in­quiries. For more in­for­ma­tion call Marise Trepanier at 819 704-0660.

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Mem­bers of Stanstead’s Beau­ti­fi­ca­tion Com­mit­tee, seen here in the lovely gar­den of lo­cal artist Louisette Gau­thier-Mitchell, are (l. to r.) San­dra Wal­lace Har­ri­son, Huguette

Gre­nier and Marise Trepanier.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.