With the sun shining brightly and Stettler striving to capture its first Communities in Bloom title at an international level, the town was in the spotlight when the judges visited Monday.
“One thing that comes clear during the tour is that so many people care and take great strides to make their homes and the community better,” said Rob Spencer, who chairs the Heartland Beautification Committee.
Lorna McIlroy and Diana Weiner gave the town rave reviews for its beautiful and appealing appearance.
“We had a wonderful day and saw all the results of all the hard work,” said McIlroy, a Grande Prairie resident who has judged Stettler in previous years.
“You have a lot to be proud of. The community gardens looks very good and the parks department is doing a great job — and we enjoy the landscape.”
McIlroy said she also valued the opportunity to meet many local residents and people who return to Stettler because it’s “a good place to live.”
“You can see the progress every year and it gets better and better,” said Weiner, who travelled from Pennsylvania.
Arriving in Stettler, she was immediately attracted to the modern office building that houses the Town of Stettler and Clearview School Division administration.
“I was really impressed with the new town building,” Weiner said. “And the landscape downtown is beautiful and progressive.”
As an agronomist, she was happy to see how the town is able to use the best soils to maximize the beauty of parks and landscapes.
Stettler representatives remain optimistic the town can compete with other communities outside of Canada.
“We will receive our evaluation results in mid-October and are confident that we’ll keep our five-bloom status, and we hope to be successful against our international competition,” Spencer said.
“We are confident that we have done a good job representing the great aspects of life in Stettler and look forward to continuing to move forward on future initiatives.”
The winners will be announced in Edmonton at the National Awards and Symposium, which is set for Oct. 10 to 13.
Stettler was a national champion last year.
All of the varied communities are judged for tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape, turf and groundcovers, fl oral displays and community involvement.
Judges provided valuable comments during the tour, Spencer said after the daylong visit.
“We were able to show them all of the great projects and initiatives that have been launched in the past year or so,” he said.
“We showed them what the town council and staff, the beautification committee and subcommittees have been working on, as well as all of the effort and energy that has been put in by community residents.
“The town looks great.”
Stettler has been challenged by the Alberta communities of Forestburg and Gibbons, as well as Trail, B.C.; Assiniboia, Sask.; Neepawa and Killarney-Turtle Mountain, Man.; Fogo, N.L.; Aya Town, Japan; Smrzice, Czech Republic; and St. Martin’s Parish, Guernsey, Channel Island, British Isles.
The local committee announced Hans Cluver as this year’s Stettler beautification champion, though he was unable to receive the award at the judges’ dinner Monday.
He was recognized for his special “above and beyond,” behind-the-scenes efforts “to help make Stettler a more beautiful place, by growing things in his neighbourhood and helping a lot around the community gardens.”