Stettler was screened attentively, to the minute detail, last week by two “Communities-in-Bloom” judges who will decide whether the town gets the top spot as the “most livable place” in Canada in its population category.
Judges Diane Clasen and Ted Zarudny arrived in Stettler in the evening on Thursday, July 23 and spent the whole day Friday visiting various parts of the town, including some beautifully designed gardens.
At their first meeting at the town office on Friday morning, the judges were briefed by councilor Al Campbell in his capacity as acting mayor, councilor Leona Thorogood, Town manager Rob Stoutenberg, development officer Wes Holowachuk, director of operational services John Keith, director of parks and leisure services Lee Penner and chair of the Heartland Beautification Committee Susan Nelson on the efforts undertaken with regard to short and long term projects undertaken by the town to improve the quality of life.
Judges, who were earlier given the master plans for development of the town asked a number of questions, some going into as small details as whether decisions have been made as to what kind of trees would be planted in green areas to be developed.
After the question and answer session, judges were given a tour of the town, including the new joint office building of the town and the Clearview school division and a few yards in the residential districts.
The day of judgment ended with a picnic at the West Stettler Park around 7 p.m.
At the picnic both judges praised Stettler for being so community-oriented and environment friendly.
“It feels like there is so much energy and activity here,” Clasen said, “it’s exciting to see all you’re doing here on top of the beautification.”
“We were quite impressed when we came into town,” Zarudny said. “The planning you’ve put into the future is good for young and old.”
Lee Penner, who accompanied the judges for the most part of their visit sounded quite hopeful after the grading of town’s quality of life was completed.
“It sounds like we are going to do alright,” said Penner.
“There was quite a few things they were impressed with and it all depends on what the other communities we are up against are doing.”
“I think they were most impressed with how well our trees are doing despite our drought this year,” added Penner.
Susan Nelson also said the outlook was “very positive”.
“I have high hopes, we did very well,” she said.
The results of the competition are to be announced in September.
This year, Stettler is competing against Castlegar, B.C, London, Ontario and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.