Try­ing to look good

Na­tional Com­mu­ni­ties in Bloom judges toured Char­lot­te­town on Mon­day

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY DAVE STE­WART 5)& (6"3%*"/

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.’’

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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.

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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.

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