Missed it by that much!
If you measure the effectiveness of a project on the positive impact it’s had in a community rather than on the number of flowers it has earned, then there’s no doubt that Stanstead’s project to beautify the town enough to earn a fourth flower from Fleurons Quebec was an unqualified success, despite missing out on that fourth bloom by only a few points. The town was noticeably more attractive throughout the summer and the four project participants have moved on to either new jobs or returning to school.
“We are not discouraged by the result; it’s very encouraging and we know what to do to improve. A majority of municipali- ties with four ‘fleurons’ have a team of horticulturists working full time for their municipality. We only have one person part time. So if you take that factor into account, we are really good in Stanstead. We were lucky enough to have Nicole Doyon, our retired horticulturist, drawing plans for us as a volunteer this summer and the project participants were superb; they also took care of all the existing flower beds and parks and painted the garbage bins and flower boxes in town!” commented project coordinator, Marise Trepanier.
With a budget of $2000 for the new beds (except for the beds at the corner of Dufferin and Railroad which was part of a different project) $700 in plants was bought at the garden business in Beebe; a lot of mulch and paint was bought at Rona, in Beebe, and giant planters for the downtown area were bought at Holland Gardens, in Ayer’s Cliff. Some steel urns and tools were bought at Canadian Tire. “I think we did our part to encourage local business. We were able to cut corners with perennials that Nicole and I were able to divide from our own gardens to save money,” said Ms. Trepanier.
“Out of the four project participants, two are back to school, one has been hired and the fourth one is currently seeking a job. I am so proud of what they did for the community, proud of their achievements, proud of everything they learned during the process. They beautified Stanstead throughout the summer and we had a lot of fun working at it together as a team. I enjoyed getting to know each one of them,” she added.
Earlier in September, the Stanstead gardening team, along with Ms. Trepanier and Stanstead mayor Philippe Dutil, attended the Fleurons Quebec gala to find out if the town had earned its fourth flower, a highly coveted classification. At the town’s last evaluation three years ago, it was at 550 points, needing another 150 points to get that fourth flower. Evaluators from the Fleurons Quebec organization came back to Stanstead in August, going up and down every street, taking note of the quality and quantity of flower beds and gardens in the Three Villages.
The team was not too discouraged by the results. “We managed to get 684 points! Sixteen points away from a fourth fleuron! That is great news!”
The points were divided into five categories: Municipal land, 229 out of 340; Institutional, 124 out of 180; Residential, 129 out of 230 (not much improvement from last evaluation); Commercial, 36 out of 90; and Industrial, 30 out of 50. The most points came in the Community Initiative and sustainable development bracket where the town earned 136 out of 160 possible points!
“So we know where we have to work in the next two years to get the 4th fleuron: we have to get the commerce and industries involved. Rock of Ages, Granit Design, Familiprix, IGA and the Vieille Douane have been mentioned as examples to follow. We also have to focus on residential. The Embellishment committee will have to actively work on getting residents to flower their properties,” commented Ms. Trepanier.
“The Mayor and I would like to thank the committee that believed in my crazy project: Mylène from the CAB, Josée Fortin from the CSSS Memphremagog, and Veronique Boutin –Gauvin from Carrefour Jeunesse emploi that organized it all and made it all possible. We would also like to thank Margarita Betancur, the coordinator. She was a precious part of the project,” she concluded.
Seen here at the Montreal Botanical Gardens was Stanstead’s gardening team: (left to right) Marise Trepanier, project coordinator, Megan Sisco, Victoria Elliott-Roy, Margarita Betancur, Carol Hudson, Randall Reynolds and mayor Philippe Dutil.