The Town of Stettler received an honourable mention and was awarded a 5 Blooms Bronze rating, in addition to having a special mention for the environmental initiatives at the 2016 Communities in Bloom National/International Symposium and Awards Ceremony, which was hosted in Regina, Saskatchewan over the past weekend.
“Stettler performed very, very well in the International Challenge – Medium category of the Communities in Bloom National competition,” Chair of Heartland Beautification Committee Robert Spencer said. “We maintained a high level of performance and were a finalist for the Heritage Conservation Outstanding Achievement Award, but did not win.”
Over the summer volunteer judges travelled to communities in participating municipalities to evaluate the overall contributions of municipal council and departments, local industry and businesses and the private sector, based on several criteria, such as tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape and floral displays.
Following their evaluation, judges Evelyn Alemanni and Gaétan Deschênes wrote: “The people of Stettler, in the heart of Alberta, know that environmental actions are an essential element of quality of life. Their energetic environmental committee gives out annual awards, but it doesn’t stop there.”
The judges highlighted the various initiatives that Stettler has adopted – going bagless so turf clippings are left in place, anti-idling encouragement, bring your own bag (BYOB) signs for stores, recycling containers that allow people to take cans and bottles and get the refund, a take-it-or-leave-it centre where large items can be dropped off and picked up at no cost, a complete recycling centre that even takes e-waste at no charge, stores that give discounts for people who arrive by bike, and “walk and roll” signage indicating time/distance for pedestrians and cyclists.
“Within the actual context of climate changes and environmental concerns, communities involved in the program can be proud of their efforts, which provide real and meaningful environmental solutions and benefit all of society,” the judges added.
Stettler competed against Estes Park, Colo. in the United States, and Jasper, Alta. in the International Challenge medium category.
“We continue to shine in a lot of areas, including environmental action, but I think that we’ve seen big improvements in areas like heritage conservation as well,” Spencer said. “Mostly, as a committee, we introduce little initiatives that nudge people to make changes and we highlight the great things that people are doing in the community, both for community residents to see and recognize, but to showcase those things to other communities around the world. And people are watching.”