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Before lunch today they visted several local landmarks like the Visitor Centre and the North Peace Museum, and toured the downtown fence project and heritage kiosks. This afternoon they’ve been shown the community garden, and the ArtsPost, and have had the inner workings of the water treatment plant and Eco Depot explained to them. To finish off their tour, they visited several residential gardens around the Energetic City.

Berta Briggs of Wataskiwin has judged Fort St. John four times now, and she says it’s always a pleasure because of the pride the community holds.

“If you want to make something happen, dig in and make something happen,” she says. “I think that it’s a very self-contained community, with a great deal of pride and that really shines through.”

Maurice Baren of England is one of this year’s judges, and has been involved in the Bloom program for 38 years. He also says he’s been impressed so far with the effort put in by the community as a whole.

“The way the whole community is coming together… you’ve got the city but you’ve also got the volunteers, and it seems a very happy relationship. It’s a binding together.”

Baren points to sustainable efforts like conserving light and water and reusing glass pieces for landscaping as what stands out to him in our community. He also appreciates having a facility like the Pomeroy Sport Centre for community use during the winter months, as well as to help children burn off energy, which cuts down on graffitti and encourages social behaviour. Of course, there’s also the flowers.

“The local folk here are doing a superb job. Everywhere you walk or ride across the city you’ll find pots of flowers, and in other cases pots of vegetables growing, and it’s edible vegetables.”

Last year Fort St. John received a 5 bloom rating in its category, with a special mention for its edible landscapes. The judges will take the rest of the afternoon to discuss, and a report will be coming out in mid-October.

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