Our Stories

Urban Systems Well Represented at the BC Communities in Bloom Banquet

Organization aims to inspire and uplift the community ‘vibe’

Shasta McCoy and Edward Stanford from Urban Systems recently attended the BC Communities in Bloom (BC CiB) Banquet at the River Bell Restaurant in Trail, BC. The banquet followed the end of the annual provincial conference.

“Most people think of Communities in Bloom as being about pretty flowers – and it is,” says Shasta, “but now, there’s more emphasis on sustainability and green infrastructure.”

BC Communities in Bloom aims to inspire and uplift the community ‘vibe’. Enhancing visual appeal instills pride in residents and attracts tourists. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds gather to positively impact social, economic, environmental and heritage aspects of the community.

Beginning in Europe, CiB came to Canada in 1995, starting with 29 communities. BC introduced a provincial edition in 1997 and became a non-profit society in 2005. Nathan Johnson from the Fort St. John office created a map of all active communities in BC. The program invites friendly competition and public recognition for their spirit of contribution.

Each summer, communities are rated on a scale of one to five ‘Blooms’ based on eight criteria: tidiness, environmental action, community involvement, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape, turf and groundcovers, and floral displays.

This year’s banquet was attended by over 60 municipal employees and volunteers. Seated with Trail’s Mayor and his partner, Shasta and Edward felt this was a great occasion to connect with, and to thank, our municipal clients.

Two auctions at the banquet (artwork, wine and garden-tools) raised funds for CiB.

Edward_FSJ_Cert200pxEdward has been involved with Communities in Bloom since 2000. He represents Urban Systems as a sponsor of the BC CiB and he sits on the BC CiB Board. More recently, Edward became a part of the City of Fort St. John CiB committee and in this capacity received the novice certificate for Fort St. John presented by Don Alberg.

Shasta_Award_200pxShasta was happy to present the Urban Systems-sponsored Landscape Criteria Award to Charlotte Mitchell of Maple Ridge, BC. This award acknowledges community efforts toward creating green spaces and streetscapes. Successful elements included native and introduced materials, balance of plants and constructed elements, and the quality of turf and groundcovers. The recipient was visibly moved.

“They were so pleased to receive the award,” said Shasta.

Asked to speak at the event, Shasta felt proud and grateful for the opportunity to refer to a study looking at 64,000 births that found mothers living in neighbourhoods with ample green space are more likely to carry their babies to full term and deliver babies with higher birth weights.

“The study … is a powerful affirmation of the work that we are celebrating here tonight. We are not just making our neighbourhoods green for the sake of ‘pretty’, or curb appeal, or frivolity, but we are contributing to public health and well-being in a meaningful way.”

To view the BC CiB September 2014 newsletter click here

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