Lake Country wins ‘4 Blooms’ from Communities in Bloom

Lake Country was given special mention for the concept and development of the arboretum at Jack Seaton Park.

Communities in Bloom awards presentation with Coun. Jamie McEwan (left)

Lake Country was awarded ‘4 Blooms’ at the Communities in Bloom provincial awards held last month in Kelowna.

Lake Country was given special mention for the concept and development of the arboretum at Jack Seaton Park, and the district scored highest in the landscaped areas category among all competing B.C. communities.

The Communities in Bloom program is all about getting people involved in making their community a better place in which to live, work, and visit.

Inspiring citizen and civic involvement in enhancing the community’s resilience and liveability is a primary goal of the program.

Judges noted that the obvious presence of the agricultural industry continues to be a major contributor to the overall economy and well-being of Lake Country.

“I’m very proud of the work that went into this year’s Communities in Bloom submission,” said Coun. Jamie McEwan, chair of the Lake Country Communities in Bloom committee. “The collaboration of our hard-working community groups, alongside the Communities in Bloom committee and staff, were the greatest contributing factors to Lake Country’s success in this project.”

“In achieving 4 Blooms this year, not only did we make progress with respect to our overall rating,” McEwan continued, “but we earned recognition for our arboretum project. This year’s submission to Communities in Bloom, then, was not only a celebration of our past and current community successes, but also a celebration of the strong vision that we have for its future.”

The Arboretum project, partially funded through the provincial Trees for Tomorrow program, provides a quiet, peaceful setting for the public to walk, sit or just contemplate. At the same time it provides a place of improved habitat for all manner of birds, animals and insect life to flourish.

Jack Seaton Park was chosen for the unique setting that it offers with the wetlands to the rocky hillsides surrounding it.

Phase one of the project is underway, with completion expected next year.

Some 18 trees have been planted to date, including seven different species. Information plaques will be installed at the various trees giving a brief description of their history, growth habit and uses.

Paths have been created and benches will be installed next year.

Lake Country’s Communities in Bloom submission featured the theme Engaged Community, and highlighted the significant contribution that volunteer organizations lend.

The extensive volunteer base in the district demonstrates most effectively how people from all walks of life are investing time and energy in making Lake Country one of the most desirable and diverse regions of B.C., noted judges Peter Crawshaw and Lynette Twigge.

“Lake Country’s achievement in attaining 4 Blooms this year is a testament to the dedication of so many people to present this community as a desirable place in which to live, work and play,” Crawshaw said.

This is the second year that Lake Country has participated in the Communities in Bloom program.

“We look at it as a catalyst to inventory assets and review progress and improvement in the community, while unifying individuals, business leaders, municipal staff and local service clubs who care about helping their community achieve its full potential,” said Steve Schaffrick, Lake Country director of community and customer services.

“So the bottom line is that no matter what ‘Bloom’ rating we get from the judges, everyone wins. But of course I’m thrilled that we went from a 2-Bloom rating in the first year, to 4 Blooms this year.”

The Lake Country Community Profile booklet, developed with input from staff, Walk Around Lake Country, the Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society and community groups such as the Oyama Community Club, Community Hall Association of Okanagan Centre and the Public Art Advisory Commission, is available for viewing at www.lakecountry.bc.ca.

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