Photo: Communities in Bloom judges Evelyn Alemanni (right) and Steve Preston have been touring Fort St. John, Friday, evaluating the City as part of the 17th annual competition./Kimberley Molina


The street sweeping, flower pot watering and overall city beautifying has culminated with the arrival of two Communities in Bloom judges in Fort St. John.

The two judges, from Ontario and California, have been in town since Wednesday night and have spent Friday touring and evaluating the city, visiting everything from the North Peace Cultural Centre and the Community Art Project to the Eco Depot and the Public Works Shop and the Community Forests.

They will be judging the city in six categories, including, environmental action, urban forestry and heritage conservation.

Steve Preston is from Brampton, Ont. and Evelyn Alemanni from Escondido, Calif. Both judges have been to the city before, but say they are impressed with the changes the community has undergone, even in the past year.

Preston, in particular, says he is fascinated by the Pomeroy Sport Centre. He also mentioned some of what he considers the unique aspects of the city, including the integration of floral beds and edible vegetables in the landscaping around the Centre.

Alemanni says she has been impressed with the various environmental initiatives Fort St. John has taken on and praised the City’s attention to detail on the projects.

Fort St. John is competing in the Award of Excellence category, which are communities that have either previously won in their population category or have a five bloom rating, or very high score, in the past. This year, Fort St. John is competing against Stratford, Ont.; Kingston, Ont.; Barrie, Ont. and Strathcona County, Alta.

Although the communities are in very different areas of the country, Preston says judges take into account the fact that each of the communities are unique and have different climates to with which to contend.

He says one thing the judges look for is that a city has been improving itself and implementing recommendations judges have made in previous years.

Awards will be presented in Quebec City between Oct. 26 and 29.