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North Battleford Communities in Bloom Committee (NBCIB) Co-chairs Charlotte Hamilton and Nora Rongve are cautiously optimistic the city will get a good grade from two Communities in Bloom judges who toured the community Thursday.
“We had some good comments,” Rongve said late Thursday.
“Very positive,” she said.
Rongve and Hamilton aren’t sure when the judges will inform the city of its mark. Last year – its first year in the provincial competition – North Battleford received four out of a possible five blooms. However, they anticipate the city will find out its mark sometime in late August or in September. They note a supper where the winners received their awards was held last October.
Hamilton said the judges – Marion Kelly of Unity and Lillian Body of Luseland – were sympathetic to the fact that North Battleford had been hit hard by a savage storm June 25 and was still recovering from that incident, which resulted in many downed or broken trees.
Since than, businesses and residents have been cleaning up their property and taking the resulting debris to the city’s Waste Management Facility (known by locals as the “landfill,” or “dump”). The city has continually extended the period that it will waive landfill fees for tree debris only. The latest deadline for that fee waiver is this Saturday, July 28.
“We went out to the Waste Management Facility and they were quite impressed with the big stack of trees there,” Hamilton said. “I’m quite proud of the city and the citizens of North Battleford and how hard they worked to make everything look good.”
Kelly and Body also visited the Healing Garden behind the Allen Sapp Gallery, created last fall and planted this spring. It’s filled with plants like sweetgrass and sage that are tradtional healing plants in Aboriginal culture.
The two judges were impressed, not only by the garden itself and the concept of the healing plants within it, but also the fact that schoolkids have planted many of the plants in the garden. In addition, volunteers have not only planted other plants in the garden but also worked tirelessly to maintain it.
Kjelti Anderson, who co-ordinated the setting up of the garden and looks after its maintenance, gave the judges a tour of the garden.
She too is pretty confident they liked what they saw.
“It definitely helped them to see it first-hand, because it’s new and exciting and because I was able to explain the concept behind it,” she said.
Anderson said to her knowledge, the Healing Garden is unique in the province. There are other gardens in Saskatchewan that grow traditional healing plants, but to her knowledge, none contain all the elements this garden does, including the input from schoolchildren and volunteers as well as the emphasis on back-to-nature gardening and the link to creativity and art.
Rongve said the judges were also impressed with the community garden on 108th St. which is bigger and has more participants than when CIB judges toured it last year.
Hamilton said another attraction was a frisbee golf course, set up in Centennial Park.
“Instead of clubbing a ball, you throw a frisbee. You get so many tries, to get it into that basket, then it’s on to the next hole,” she said.
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