ELK POINT – Along with a three-bloom rating, which Elk Point Economic Development Committee chair noted, “We squeaked in by one-tenth of a per cent,” the EDC recently received a total evaluation resulting from the Aug. 2 visit by the Communities in Bloom judges. That evaluation was shared with EDC members at their Nov. 8 meeting, with a variety of suggestions for next year coming from the group.
The judges acknowledged “all the volunteers that took time to show us your beautiful, vibrant and exciting community… A heartfelt thank you to the wonderful community of Elk Point for their fabulous hospitality and time spent showing the delightful Elk Point treasures!”
That Elk Point is a ‘family-first community’ was evident in the natural areas and activities available to everyone, the judges said, also praising the well-done entrances that show this is “a community with history,” evident in the Peter Fidler statue, adding a suggestion to replace the Plexiglas on the interpretive signs, which have been cloudy with age. They also suggested refreshing the Welcome signs “every so often… to keep them looking healthy… just like your town.”
Elk Point was praised for “doing so much with limited resources” and its public works department for what it accomplishes with a small staff. The volunteer contingent “is very impressive… an excellent example of your community and how it will thrive in the future.”
The report then went into the various judging categories. Community Appearance included remarks on the absence of trash, minimal graffiti, beautiful planters and attractive garbage containers on Main Street, and the judges noted that some of the businesses “have obviously made a sincere effort to clean up and make their properties more attractive.” They also had high praise for the Allied Arts and Leisure Centre, but recommended it have an identifying sign and more curb appeal from a highway perspective.
Suggestions in this category included partnering with law enforcement and youth justice systems to promote community cleanup, brainstorming for solutions to unsightly properties, adding directional signage to indicate the way to the arena and other facilities and engaging the business community in beautification.
Environmental Action received kudos for the well placed and extremely neat and tidy community gardens, solar light installations and the willingness of the Town of Elk Point to try out an electric vehicle. Recommendations included promoting rainwater harvesting, installing recycling receptacles, offering composting education and possibly partnering with a composting company to dispose of large trees and other large organic waste.
Heritage Conservation was praised, from the “spectacular treasure” of the Iron Horse Trail, conservation of older buildings, “very well done” train station replica, the Historical Society’s projects past and present and the Peter Fidler statue. Recommendations included refurbishing the church bell at the back of Sew Heavenly Quilting, developing a walking tour brochure or online tour, planning for maintenance of the historical mural and recruiting more members for the historical society.
Tree Management recommendations included pruning and investigating their overall health, and said the goal of planting 10 new trees each year “is an excellent idea”. The judges suggested holding a tree management course, and adding trees and benches near the spray park to enhance the experience.
Landscape judging brought compliments to the Town’s Public Works staff and extended beyond the town itself to the recreation park, fishpond and River Park campground. Suggestions included encouraging beautification in the industrial area, enhancing the fishpond with a fishing and observation dock, and providing weed education to residents.
Plant and Floral Displays was the final category brought very positive reviews for the downtown and community gardens, and a recommendation to encourage resident involvement in beautification. “Try to keep encouraging citizens to beautify their personal spaces like a patchwork quilt, small areas cared for enhance the overall picture.”
All this will be taken under consideration as Elk Point takes the winter month to share ideas and prepare for 2024 and a visit by another team of Communities in Bloom judges.