COLD LAKE - Cold Lake has bloomed to its fullest potential, securing first place in the Communities in Bloom national competition. The City's Kinosoo Beach Enhancement Project has been honoured with a "Five Blooms-Silver" rating, placing it at the top of the list for communities with less than 20,000 people.
Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization and a national program dedicated to promoting community beautification, environmental stewardship, and the enhancement of green spaces. Founded in 1995, it provides a structure and platform for communities of all sizes across Canada to come together and work on improving the aesthetics, environmental sustainability, and overall quality of life within their neighbourhoods.
“We’re very proud of the hard work our staff puts in to making our city look beautiful every year. But it’s not just our staff – our whole community steps up and helps to make Cold Lake look amazing, whether it is small businesses or people’s residences,” said Glenn Barnes, general manager of Community Services with the City of Cold Lake. “All of these areas are factored into the Communities in Bloom judging criteria, and it’s thanks to everyone that we were able to take first place this year.”
The program is driven by volunteers and partnerships, using a competitive evaluation process to help create community strength, involvement, and continuous improvement. This is achieved by promoting environmental sustainability, closing in green spaces, and maintaining heritage in cultural and natural environments that hold municipal, residential, commercial, and institutional spaces, according to Communities in Bloom.
Cold Lake faced stiff competition from three other municipalities this year, including Chipman, New Brunswick, Provost, Alta., and Wolseley, Sask. Over the summer, volunteer judges went across the country to evaluate participating communities. These judges considered not only municipal efforts in floral displays but also community partnerships with industry, businesses, and third-party initiatives like community gardens.
The award was officially given to a representative from the City of Cold Lake Parks staff and Coun. Vicky Lefebvre at a ceremony held in Fort McMurray on Sept. 29.
Communities participating in the competition were assessed on several criteria, including general community appearance, environmental action, heritage conservation, tree management, landscape, as well as plant and floral displays, according to the City of Cold Lake.
Communities in Bloom provides communities with an opportunity to showcase their achievements, share best practices, and learn from one another. An annual awards ceremony is also held to honour the communities that have excelled in the program, recognizing their efforts in making their location more attractive and sustainable.
The organization's approach is adaptable to communities of all sizes and backgrounds, making it a flexible initiative that has contributed to the betterment of neighbourhoods across Canada, according to Communities in Bloom.
Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lakeland This Week