Communities in Bloom all about life the Okanagan way in Lake Country

Communities in Bloom about much more than flowers and gardens.

  • Aug. 2, 2012 2:00 p.m.

The name might make it sound like the focus is on flowers, but Communities in Bloom 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.

This is the second year that Lake Country has participated in the program and the District of Lake Country looks at it as a catalyst to inventory assets and a review of progress and improvements in the community. At the same time it unifies individuals, business leaders, municipal staff and local service clubs who care about helping their community achieve its full potential.

The program’s evaluation criteria covers tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape, floral displays and community involvement. The bottom line is that no matter what “bloom” rating the district gets from the judges, everyone wins.

The Communities in Bloom (CiB) criteria help the community to attract tourism, new development, investment and general economic activity based on being more attractive, liveable communities.

Last week qualified volunteer CiB judges visited Lake Country and enjoyed An Evening in the Park at Swalwell Park on Wednesday to participate in the dedication of the shade structure installation donated by the Lake Country Lions Club in the amount of $3,700 and a grant of $8,000 from the American Academy of Dermatology. They celebrated with award winners of the Bloomin’ Garden contested hosted by the Lake Country Garden Club.

Earlier that day, Winfield Coun. Rob Geier had organized a crew of volunteers from Connect Communities Lake Country (brain injury residence) under the supervision of Raymond Tims, along with a bus load of Camp Hatikvah volunteers to give the road shoulders, sidewalks, greenspaces, shopping area and civic precinct an extra sparkle.

On Thursday the judges, along with two senior parks staff, were taken on a driving and walking tour of Woodsdale Tennis Courts, Beasley & Reiswig Parks, Winfield Community Gardens, Winfield Creek Wildlife Preserve, Memorial Park, Seniors’ Centre Rose Garden, Jack Seaton Park including the new Arboretum; lunch at the Okanagan Centre Museum Patio Café, followed by a tour of Gibson House at Kopje Park. They learned about biological pest management at Whiskey Cove and visited a private residence on Lake Pine before heading up to view the transformation of Apex Drive Park; and finally dinner at the residence of one of the municipal councillors.

Judges were impressed with the Lake Country Community Profile book that was prepared for their visit to highlight community involvement in all of the evaluation criteria areas.

“If I didn’t already live here, after reading the community profile I’d want to move here,” said community recreation coordinator Sheila Gunn.  “It really reminds me what an amazing community we live in.”

The profile book was completed with input from district staff, Walk Around Lake Country, the Heritage and Cultural Society and other community groups.