Town of Ponoka will be carefully inspected on Thursday, July 14 by two judges assigned by the Communities in Bloom to see how it fares as compared to other similar communities according to various criteria set by the non-profit organization to determine the quality of life it offers to its residents.
Judges Sherry Cote, a workshop planner, and Mohyuddin Mirza, a greenhouse specialist and researcher/writer, will have a full day of activities starting as early as 9 a.m. at the town office and ending at 5:30 p.m. with a supper.
The itinerary for the judges include three visits to private residences and to many locations in and around the town, including the cemetery, hospital, Froman Business Park, Calnash Ag Events Centre, Stampede grounds and a wide range of sports facilities from Aquaplex to ball diamonds to soccer pitches.
The judges will also join a community BBQ, sponsored by Sommer Home Hardware and to be hosted by Town of Ponoka staff at Ford Ostell Museum at noon. During the event, awards will be presented to the winners of the Pride in Your Property competition organized by the Town of Ponoka.
Communities in Bloom was inspired by similar non-profit organizations in Britain, France and Ireland and was launched in Canada in 1995 with the participation of 29 municipalities.
More than 20 years on, the number of communities involved in the program has reached hundreds with the competition being organized at three levels, provincial, national and international. Ponoka participates in the “Friends” category of the provincial chapter of the program. As such the town is not a competitor and not judged against the communities of similar population size, but rather a participant that can make use of the advice provided by the organization to improve the quality of life in the community.
In the competition, judges assess the communities in terms of their dedication to tidiness, environmental protection, including recycling, conservation of heritage, management and enhancement of green areas, landscape design and management and community involvement.
The judges are reported to be using standard forms to convey their impressions from their visits to the communities to a provincial coordinator based on a point system, under which “blooms” are awarded to communities with those receiving five blooms from the judges as being considered winners.
The 2016 Provincial Awards for Communities in Bloom Alberta will be held Saturday, September 17, 2016 but a venue has yet to be announced.