ST. PAUL – The Town of St. Paul showed its dedication toward environmental sustainability, efforts to green spaces nourishment, and commitment to community solidarity. The town is participating in the Communities in Bloom (CiB) 2022 national edition in the Up to 6,000 Population category.
CiB National Judges Lucy Chang & Colleen Stockford toured the Town of St. Paul on July 22 and 23. They evaluated the town's overall performance on community appearance, environmental action, heritage conservation, tree management, landscape, and plant and floral displays.
The itinerary for the judges' tour included the Community Garden, Lagasse Park, St. Paul Transfer Station, Iron Horse Trail, and the Healing Garden at the University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills.
They also visited the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), with Colleen Stockford, telling Lakeland This Week she has "never seen anything like it before." Meanwhile, Chang said she has seen similar WWTP plants in Alberta and commended the province's sewage regulations.
During a question-and-answer session, the judges asked St. Paul's Director of Parks and Recreation, Harvey Smyl, about the amount of personnel maintaining green spaces, among other questions. Smyl said the Parks and Recreation have eight full-time employees that maintain multiple parks, including seven seasonal staff that are students.
According to the judges, despite many challenges, the Town of St. Paul does well for the resources it has. After the session, the judges also visited participating gardens of a local garden contest previously held by the local committee for CiB. Results from the local contest include: first place Lise Bussiere; second place Gisele and Dwayne Nielsen; third place John and Gladys Kotowich. Honourable mention was given to Kim and Ryan Christensen.
Communities in Bloom is an opportunity for communities to interact with each other and be proud of their community, according to Town of St. Paul Mayor Maureen Miller. She said that if communities are proud and connected, they do more to take care of their communities, including reducing graffiti and taking care of their parks.
"It's not always about flowers. It's about what we do," said Miller. "It's about our relationships with our Indigenous partners, be it (University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills), be it our Indigenous communities around us, (it's) what we do to create those relationships."
She added, "To actually be able to compete at a national level indicates to me that we are doing the necessary work that we can to showcase our community at a national level, and that would be initiatives that we've done that have been successful, and we're proud of those."
The CiB 2022 national edition results will be announced during the National Symposium on Parks and Grounds and the National and International Awards celebrating the "Year of the Garden." The event will be held in Victoria, British Columbia, from Oct. 22 to 23, according to a CiB news release.