Trying to look good
National Communities in Bloom judges toured Charlottetown on Monday
The City of Charlottetown may be facing the toughest competition yet in the national Communities in Bloom contest – itself.
Unlike other categories where cities are compared to other cities in the nation beautification program, Charlottetown has entered the Canada 150 category this year so the national judges are looking at one thing, does the city look better than it has before.
“The only community they are competing against is themselves as to whether or not they can exceed the standard they have in the past,’’ said Cliff Lacey, one of two national judges looking over the city on Monday.
Charlottetown has done rather well for itself in the past. It was crowned champion in the Circle of Excellence category in 2016, won the national title in 2005, 2007 and 2011 and captured international bragging rights in 2011.
Beth Hoar, the city’s parkland conservationist, said the city keeps it pretty simple when it comes to preparing for the judges’ visit.
“We have a little more vigilance at this time of year,’’ Hoar said. “We want to make sure everything looks the best that we can so we’ll be doing things like (making sure) the weeding is done, making sure the pruning is done, we might paint a few things; just stepping up our maintenance a bit.’’
Alain Chappelle, another national bloom judge, said he can’t say yet how well the city will do in 2017 but he promises a very high ranking.
“I look at the lawns and flower beds and everything is neat and clean,’’ Chappelle said, looking over the grounds at Confederation Landing Park. “This is what strikes me the most, the cleanliness of the city.’’
The judges are also looking at things such as historical Canada 150 floral displays, urban design and environmental awareness.
Lacey listed a few other observations that have caught his eye, such as turning the old convent into the high-end Sydney boutique.
“I would say the historical preservation is phenomenal, certainly worth a mention.’’
And, even though it isn’t new, he had words of praise for the Island Waste Management Corporation and its efforts to recycle and reduce waste going into landfills.
“I think it’s an example to the rest of Canada. I don’t think there’s any other better recycling program in the country.’’
Lacey added he takes pride in the fact that the Bloom program fosters community pride among the communities that take part.
“It’s called the Communities in Bloom program but it’s really a community development program. It fosters community growth. It fosters volunteerism, unanimity between businesses and municipal governments as well as individuals in the community.’’
National Communities in Bloom judges Cliff Lacey, left, and Alain Chappelle are shown in Charlottetown grading the sites. Charlottetown, the defending national champion, has entered the Canada 150 category this year, which is non-competitive.
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee, left, presents the Mayor’s Award in the Make Our Hometown Beautiful program to Bill Grant and Pauline Sherren, property managers of the Harley and Gower street properties. They were accepting the award on behalf of Kevin MacDonald of Taylor Built Homes who developed the area.