Communities in Bloom judges Vania Bowman (second from right) and Bruce Hobin (last on right) tour Pearl Martin’s garden trail system. Martin’s neighbours, Verena (in pink) and Julius Brysch (in purple), have worked on the trail system and gave the judges a tour on July 18, 2017. Hope Communities in Bloom chairperson Victor Smith stands on the left. (X. Y. Zeng photo)

Communities in Bloom judges Vania Bowman (second from right) and Bruce Hobin (last on right) tour Pearl Martin’s garden trail system. Martin’s neighbours, Verena (in pink) and Julius Brysch (in purple), have worked on the trail system and gave the judges a tour on July 18, 2017. Hope Communities in Bloom chairperson Victor Smith stands on the left. (X. Y. Zeng photo)

They’re coming!

Communities in Bloom judges return to see if Hope has what it takes for another 5 Blossom year

It’s time for Hope to put its best bloom forward as the town is about to be judged against others in this year’s provincial Communities in Bloom (CiB) competition.

“We’re the longest running provincial (competitor) in the province,” said Victor Smith, Communities in Bloom chair and district councillor, while in the Hope Mountain Cafe. “We started in 2007 and have done every year since.”

A Canada-wide, non-profit organization, CiB focuses on creating civic pride, environmental responsibility, and a greening of community-based spaces through community involvement.

“We have at least 25 volunteers who do a variety of things throughout the year,” Smith continued. And what they end up accomplishing “shows the pride of the (town’s) people and that they want their town to look great, which is does.”

Since beginning its CiB participation 12 years ago, Hope has come out on top with 5 Blooms every year except its first, and in 2012—the year the town competed nationally—when they were awarded 4 Blooms.

“After we competed nationally, we decided to stick with the provincial competition,” Smith said. “We enjoy the camaraderie of the provincial conference and can spend more of the money on making the town better, not travelling across the country.”

With funding provided by the Fraser Valley Regional District, Smith says Hope’s CiB branch is able to leverage that money for other grants and with donations from businesses and people, the organization has been able to take on even bigger projects this year.

Victor Smith of Hope Communities in Bloom speaks at the unveiling of the Mile 0 post for the Hope Princeton Highway. (Ray Daws photo)

“It’s not just about flowers. We did the Mile-0 Post, and that was a big deal. Overall, we’ve had 3,500 volunteer hours (contributed), and basically we have something going on five days a week,” the CiB chair said.

The group also organizes Hope’s annual Chainsaw Carving Competition, which draws people from across the province and the USA.

RELATED: Hope Communities in Bloom shoots for a five-bloom rating

But now the group, which spends so much time beautifying the town’s public green spaces, needs residents to spruce up their private green spaces.

“We’re asking people to get out their and mow their lawns and to try and do a bit extra,” Smith said. “If everyone cleans up their yards a bit, that’s the town pride that we’re looking for.”

Arriving in town on Monday, July 15, the CiB judges—Yvette May and Bruce Hobis—will meet with organization volunteers for dinner, and the next day, Tuesday, July 16, they’ll tour Hope and evaluate it in the following areas:

n floral displays,

n tidiness,

n environmental action,

n heritage conservation,

n urban forestry,

n landscape, and

n other projects.

“Then they give us a report card of where we’re at and where we can improve,” Smith said, adding he hopes they’ll score another 5 Bloom year and continue their winning streak.

“But no matter what, what makes us champions is the people of Hope, they’re why we’ve always done so well.”

For more information about Communities in Bloom, please visit the national website at CommunitiesinBloom.ca. To learn more about Hope’s CiB branch, please visit their Facebook Page.