West Kelowna welcomes judges

On July 24 and 25, the District of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation will host two judges from the national Communities in Bloom competition.

If history repeats itself, the area has nothing to worry about.

“We’ve been participating in Communities in Bloom now for seven years in partnership with Westbank First Nation. This is our fifth year in the national competition,” said Annette Beaudreau, recreation and culture supervisor for the District of West Kelowna, and co-chair of the local Communities in Bloom national competition committee.

“We’ve been really lucky to receive five blooms every year, which is the highest rating.”

Beaudreau said that receiving five blooms, especially in the first year, was something almost unheard of among the Communities in Bloom participants.

“That was something we were pretty proud of. We strive to maintain that every year.”

Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization that evaluates communities on tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape and floral displays. Within each of those categories is community involvement.

The judges will be toured throughout the area to ensure that they see the best of what the community has to offer.

“We work with our committee to develop a tour route. Obviously the judges are staying here in the community and they’ll have a chance on their own time to check out what they want to, but usually they leave the true touring up to us,” said Beaudreau.

“We try to showcase key examples throughout the District of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation: Areas that we think exemplify what we’re doing in each category.”

Part of the role of the judges is to suggest ways that the District of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation can make improvements.

“No community is perfect, but we try to talk about how we can address our challenges.”

Beaudreau said that the results will be posted online for all of the public to check out. She has high hopes that West Kelowna might win the whole thing this year.

According to its web site, Communities in Bloom was established with the guidance of Britain in Bloom, Tidy Towns of Ireland and Villes et Villages Fleuris de France.

The first judging of Communities in Bloom was held in 1995 and 29 participating municipalities were honoured.


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