Last week the newly formed Eckville Communities in Bloom committee faced the judges.
The committee which includes Councillors Colleen Ebden and Sandra Hallgren welcomed the provincial judges, Lorrie McFadden and Marie Wenger, to Eckville July 20.
According to the two councillors, the judges were very impressed with the small town.
However, the Eckville Communities in Bloom did not actually compete. As this was their first year, they participated as a non-competitive participant to learn about the program.
“We learned a lot. The judges were great and gave us lots of tips,” said Ebden.
“I think next year we are going to look at actually competing. I think we are ready after meeting with the judges,” said Hallgren.
The committee toured the town with the two judges looking at parks, buildings, floral arrangements, gardens and yards and much more.
The judges even look at waste management, landfills and recycling options.
“They were really impressed by the waste management system we have set up for a town our size,” said Hallgren. “In particular they were impressed by the curb side recycling. There are still a lot of larger centres that don’t have that.”
The Communities in Bloom program is “about more than just pretty flowers” as judges look at all aspects of the town and what makes it great.
Ebden said the involvement of the youth in town was also a big point in favour for the town.
“It’s pride in our community, I think. Showing the judges the kids in town get involved was huge,” Ebden said.
The judges even gave the committee tips and suggestions on how to make maintenance a little easier on the town. This included a list of different grass types that are either low or no-maintenance required.
One place where Hallgren is confident the town scored a few extra points was in the Town’s environmental impact.
The Town has switch out the light bulb in public building to LED, apparently that makes a big difference.
“They were really impressed by the initiative to switch to LED. They told us making that switch is a huge impact,” said Hallgren.
There are six categories Communities in Bloom judges evaluate participating towns on: tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape and floral displays.
Whether a community is competing or simply participating a judge will mark them on these six categories.
At the provincial conference in September, this year taking place Sept. 22-23 at the Lacombe Memorial Centre, awards will be handed out and and each town will find out how they did.
“It was a great experience and we already have ideas on what we can do to be better,” said Ebden.
The Communities in Bloom committee plans to participate as a competing participant next year.