Communities in Bloom (CiB) judges Shirley Fowler and Gunther Blasig were given the grand tour of 100 Mile House on July 20 to evaluate the town on its bloom power.
Fowler, a councillor for the City of Armstrong who has brought her hometown successfully through the CiB process, and Blasig, an arborist and horticultural technician who owns his own landscaping business in Maple Ridge, both liked what they saw.
The results of their evaluation won’t be made public until September, but Fowler says she has driven through 100 Mile over the course of many years and has seen it grow from a little town with a gas station on the main road to a town with a beautiful boulevard full of flowers.
“That’s the “wow” factor for me. I’ve watched the progression, and it’s impressive.”
Blasig was most impressed by the overall use of trees in the community.
“The big canopies provide shade, and that’s important. All of the stock I saw was mostly well-kept and looked after.”
Both judges agree that 100 Mile is fortunate to have horticulture professional Kevin Dicken on staff with the District of 100 Mile House’s public works and operations department.
“It’s unique for a community to have a horticulturist on staff. Usually, their people know how to drive a back-hoe or other equipment,” says Blasig.
“I’m sure the quality of the hanging baskets, flowers and plantings and new trees goes back to Kevin.”
In Fowler’s opinion, Centennial Park and its waterfall is a gem.
In their evaluation, numerous aspects of the town were taken into consideration by the judges, from the obvious features on the highway, to the cemetery and even the demonstration forest.
Noting it’s the first year in the Communities in Bloom program for 100 Mile House, Fowler says she expects there is a possibility the district may not be on par with others, which are veterans of the program.
“This is a starting point and it creates a domino effect. People may have seen their neighbour sprucing up their place a bit and they will do the same. Every year, you will see a little more.”
She went through the process with Armstrong and saw it become a CiB national champion.
It’s a major reason why she involves herself in the program now.
“I saw the community blooming as the years went by. If you feel you can be instrumental in the process for other communities, it’s worth it. Community pride is the biggest reward for winners and participants.”
100 Mile House is being judged in a population category that includes the village of Fruitvale and Kaslo.
Along with receiving up to five blooms as a reward, the town will be left with a 20-page judges’ evaluation with ratings and remarks on each of the criteria.