Communities in Bloom judges toured Kamsack last week

            Two judges from the provincial Communities in Bloom competition were in Kamsack last week, touring the community, inspecting its public areas and looking over private properties with the objective of providing a report to the competition’s organizers.

            At Kamsack July 10 and 11 were Arlene Janzen of White City and Bonita Lundberg of Saskatoon, who have been judges for Communities in Bloom for more than a dozen years each.

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            The bulk of their tour of the community was held in the rain on July 11. They were accompanied by Kev Sumner, the recreation director, who organized their visit, and Councillor Karen Koreluik.

The weather had halted the plan to have the judges fly over the community with a plane that had been offered by the Hudye Group and Prairie Soil Services, Sumner said. Redline Chrysler donated the use of a courtesy car for the tour.

            The two women completed their task at a potluck event held at the Kamsack seniors’ centre on July 11 when they dined with members of the Kamsack and District Horticulture Society and Trackside Garden volunteers, as well as members of town staff, including Sumner, Koreluik and Laura Lomenda, town administrator, and their spouses.

            Kamsack is one of three communities of similar size, with populations of between 1,001 and 2,000, that the two judges will be visiting this year. The other two are Wynyard and Eston.

            A provincial horticulture judge since 1993, Lundberg, who will be judging the Prince Albert horticulture show in August, said she spent a number of years growing and showing flowers and a taken a number of courses.

            Holding “master gardener” certification, Lundberg is a graduate of the Prairies Horticulture Certification program and teaches floral design basics continuing education course at the University of Saskatchewan.

            Janzen, on the other hand, had been selected as a judge after having developed expertise in the governance side of horticulture. She served on the White City town council and on a parks and recreation board.

            Asked for a preliminary impression of the community, Lundberg immediately said that the town’s tidiness “is up there with the others.”

            The Trackside Garden is phenomenal, she said, commending the volunteers who tend the garden.

            Jeannine Sonnenberg, the town gardener is a very good and knowledgeable worker, she said.

            Riverview Cemetery is awesome, Lundberg said, adding that its directory needs updating.

            “It is so well kept,” she said of the cemetery. “And the view is georgeous.”

            The walking path trails are a huge asset, Janzen said, adding that she was impressed with the appearance of the sportsgrounds.

            There are a few diseased trees, both on municipal and town property, the judges said.

            The Communities in Boom competition is not only a provincial initiative, it is also national and international, Lundberg explained.

            The judges will be making their reports following their visits, and then the organizers will be awarding a number of “blooms” to each of the participating communities; the number of blooms reflecting the score a community receives.

            The Communities in Bloom (CiB) program is a wonderful way to shine a positive light on Kamsack, Sumner said. “It is a way of saying that we’re proud of what we have, that we can identify with our community and that we encourage volunteerism.”

            A total of 43 communities participated in the Communities in Bloom program last year, he said, adding that being recognized by the program is significant at the SUMA (Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association) and SPRA (Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association) levels.

            For the competition, communities are judged in six sections: tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape and floral displays. Last year Kamsack received 744 points out of 1,000, or a mark of 75 per cent, which garnered four blooms.

            In the evaluation report, the judges said that the landscape and environmental actions carried out by the community were particularly well done.