Stettler remains ranked high as one of the most beautiful communities competing in the national Communities in Bloom competition for the second year in a row.
The Town of Stettler received status of five blooms for communities with a population from 5001 to 8,000 once again, while judges made special mention of the trail systems when winners were announced at the 15th annual Communities in Bloom National Awards Ceremony on Oct. 3 in Vaughan, Ontario.
“We are very pleased with the result,” said Susan Nelson, who chairs Heartland Beautification Committee, which spearheaded the entry.
“We are proud of the town – everyone pitched in.”
“It’s great that the judges recognized the efforts for developing a trail system and how important it is to the community.”
“Maybe next year we will win the category,” said Nelson, who steps down this week when Rob Spencer will chair the committee.
Dryden, Ontario won the title for the category with contenders from Castlegar (British Columbia), and Yarmouth (Nova Scotia).
Judging the Town of Stettler in July, Diane Clasen of North Carolina and Ted Zarudny of Orangeville, Ontario expressed great compliments.
“Stettler is a town in motion; progressive, planning for an active, healthy future.”
“Stettler has an extensive, well-utilized trail system used by people of all ages, at all times of the day; walking, biking, or jogging anywhere in town.”
“Remarkable foresight for a town of this size.”
“Strategically located to be a regional centre for commerce, Stettler celebrates its early years of steam locomotion as home to the Alberta Railway Excursion, a steam powered pleasure train that travels from Stettler to Big Valley and back,” says the scorecard for the town.
Contestants were judged on tidiness, community involvement, landscaped areas, floral displays and turf and ground cover, environmental awareness, heritage conservation, urban forest management.
Stettler received a total mark of 82.55 per cent from the judges – down from 83.15 per cent last year.
With a total possible mark of 125, Stettler received high marks for each criteria:
• Tidiness – 109 (109.5 last year).
• Turf and Groundcovers – 106 (104.5).
• Floral Displays – 105 (101).
• Natural and Cultural Heritage Conservation – 102 (102).
• Environmental Awareness – 102.5 (102. 5).
• Landscaped Areas – 101.5 (102.5).
• Community Involvement – 100.5 (107.5).
• Tree/Urban Forest Management – 98 (102).
For each criteria, judges suggested several steps Heartland Beautification Committee could take to raise the score.
To increase community involvement, judges suggested the strong core of volunteers be increased and strengthened; that the town approach more businesses to help sponsor events.
To increase natural and cultural heritage conservation, judges suggested that the town offer financial incentives to improve commercial building facades and to set architectural standards to maintain a period theme downtown.
For tidiness, judges suggested that the town and committee may want to canvass commercial and industrial businesses and suggest they take better care of their properties.
Enforcing bylaws pertaining to clean-up of these areas would enhance the overall appearance of the town.
For environmental awareness, judges suggested that steps be taken to determine how businesses can become part of the environmental, and to educate people to compost their kitchen waste.