Communities in Bloom Evaluation

Beauty is an important pillar of community life. Communities in Bloom celebrates and encourages communities to beautify themselves.

Here are highlights from the Communities in Bloom evaluation. You can view my earlier post on Communities in Bloom here.

The evaluation is based on 8 criteria, divided into the 6 following sections, assessing 4 sectors of the community:

Tidiness 117.50 / 150.00 78%
Environmental Action 104.50 / 150.00 70%
Heritage Conservation 108.00 / 150.00 72%
Urban Forestry 125.00 / 175.00 71%
Landscape 148.00 / 200.00 74%
Floral Displays 136.00 / 175.00 78%
Total 739.00 / 1000.00

The total of 73.9% gives us 4 Blooms; the minimum requirement for 4 Blooms is 73%.

The Walking Trail received Special Mention.

In the “General Comments and Suggestions” portion of the report the judges note the lack of volunteers. For the town to move forward “the town needs to strengthen community support of the CiB program.”

One of the questions I like to ask: “What are the OFIs (opportunity for improvement)?

  • More volunteers engaged with the program.
  • The alleys are usually unkempt.
  • Enhancing our downtown experience.
  • Repairing, maintenance, and replacing some outdoor furniture.
  • Growing the green bin program with Lorass. (our home used the green bins and we loved it.)
  • A suggestion that came up at the Coleman/Hahn Cres park was to create paths to link the parks.
  • Draining water from the old aquatic centre.
  • More festivities along with GrilledCheesePalooza
  • Guided tours of Kindersley
  • Plant more trees.
  • Incentives for lawn beautification through a competition.
  • Introduction of bees to help with pollination.
  • Enhancing tourist rest stops.
  • Development of the Town Square.
  • More hanging flower baskets and organic covers for the baskets.

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Tidiness

Observations

From Main Street to commercial areas, properties are well-maintained. For the most part, residential areas are well-kept, too, with neatly mown lawns and attractive streetscapes. Little to no litter is evident, so the control measures that are in place seem to be working.

Recommendations

Some weed control issues in sidewalks are apparent and the judges recommend hiring summer students to either manually weed them, or use mechanical weeding tools.

The condition of urban furniture is showing varying degrees of wear, from new to in need of replacement. We suggest an annual review of the state of all urban furniture, especially the wooden benches donated by the Kindersley Wildlife Federation.

Also, the town could consider encouraging the creation of a Business Improvement Association (BIA) to foster main street pride.

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Environmental Action

Observations

Kindersley has taken positive steps to improve its waste management program.

With the help of the Kindersley Wildlife Federation, an aerator is being installed to revitalize the Motherwell Reservoir, and bring back fish to this popular pond.

Recommendations

Although curbside pick-up of fibres and containers is a positive step, the town is encouraged to pursue composting by collecting yard waste. This could include shrub and tree prunings, which could be chipped, along with Christmas trees in winter, to increase stocks of much-needed mulch for public plantings.

As the town continues to grow, future residential developments could consider incorporating multi-purpose pathways to accommodate cyclists, walkers and runners.

To mitigate health hazards from mosquito-born illness, the judges strongly urge the town to drain the stagnant water pooling at the decommissioned aquatics centre.

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Heritage Conservation

Observations

The Kindersley and District Plains Museum has a great collection of antique and vintage items, from china, meat grinders and royal memorabilia to historical structures such as a school house, farm house and blacksmith shop;

The annual Cultural Days festival preserves and celebrates local ethnic cuisine and customs, and the Kindersley Centennial Heritage Tours walking tour booklet, published in 2010, introduces visitors to the town’s historic sites, including the provincially designated heritage post office.

The Cemetery Committee is very active and has recently erected a new building to accommodate gatherings.

Plaques along the Community Walking Trail identify and tell the story of a buffalo rubbing stone.

Recommendations

Kindersley could capitalize on its heritage by bringing its historical culture to life through more festivities and events that celebrate prairie life. Held at the Plains Museum, these events could resurrect and reenact local customs.

Rather than self-guided walking tours, local residents could lead small group tours, adding a personal perspective to the town’s history and cultural past.

Kindersley

Urban Forestry

Observations

With new plantings of more than 80 trees in the Cemetery and in the Dog Park, Kindersley is identifying the need to enhance its urban canopy.

An excellent tree inventory has been developed in conjunction with the geographical information system, which identified the species and caliper of all municipally owned trees. Plans are underway to bring the town’s Urban Tree Policy under the umbrella of the Official Community Plan.

Recommendations

A significant percentage (35%) of the tree canopy is American elm, which exposes the community to potential destruction by Dutch Elm Disease, which has been recently reported in nearby Saskatoon. The judges recommend that staff be educated in the identification and strategies to control this disease, as well as to be prepared for the potential infestation of Emerald Ash Borer, which will affect the town’s green ash trees, including the newly planted ones at the Dog Park. Furthermore, a regular tree maintenance survey could be conducted to identify and deal with, in a timelier manner, dead and diseased limbs and trees that are evident in many public green spaces.

The town is also urged to continue to increase and diversify the tree canopy by obtaining free trees from Shand Greenhouses, which is growing 500,000 seedlings in conjunction with SaskPower.

Many residents dislike the upkeep involved with trees. To reinforce the importance of trees to the community, the town could hold a community tree planting activity in conjunction with Arbor Day, which could culminate in a volunteer appreciation event.

Although new plantings are well cared-for, the use of mulch and TreeGater bags on all new plantings would reduce the need for the twice-weekly manual watering that’s currently being undertaken, especially in the Cemetery.

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Landscape

Observations

Walking Trail that links the town to the Motherwell Reservoir is an achievement the townspeople can be proud of.

To address the community’s need for a public gathering place, the town is in the process of approving a plan for a town square concept. Developed in conjunction with a landscape architect, the area calls for landscaped grounds and a gazebo. A new splash pad has already been created, and is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

At the West Central Events Centre, baseball diamonds and sports fields are maintained to high standards.

Recommendations

To reward the efforts of residents in designing and maintaining their landscapes, the town is urged to participate in the Miracle-Gro Best Gardens program. Through such recognition of their efforts, residents might become interested in participating in community beautification projects—and perhaps even volunteer on the CiB Committee.

The Bees Matter program would be a useful way to establish a pollinator-friendly garden at Dog Park where weeds need to be removed from the newly planted beds. These and all other flowerbeds in the town are in dire need of mulch to help suppress weeds and retain moisture.

At the tourist pit stops where shrubs and perennials seem to be suffering, the landscape cloth on the beds under the Welcome sign should be removed to bring the soil to life. Then, compost and mycorrhiza can be added to help improve the soil and encourage the development of a community of beneficial micro-organisms.

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Floral Displays

Observations

The community benefits from the generous support of Puddles in My Garden and Prairie Rose florist, which donate plants at the end of the season, and provide hanging baskets at a reduced cost. Prairie Rose also donates end of season annuals to the Caleb Residence.

Fish emulsion fertilizer is being used in all hanging baskets, and these seem to be responding well to this organic feeding regimen.

Recommendations

Although there are many hanging baskets in the Cemetery and downtown area, the town could partner with local businesses to enlist financial or in-kind support to supplement the number of hanging baskets and planters placed around town to create more of an impact.

To improve the aesthetic impact of the hanging baskets, the exposed plastic liners should be covered with coir (shredded coconut fibre) liners. The town could also work with Prairie Rose to investigate adding coir in the potting mix to help retain moisture and reduce the frequency of manual watering.