Hope has received the coveted Five Bloom award and a special mention for the Othello-Quintette Tunnels in the 2013 provincial Communities in Bloom competition.
The award was handed out over the weekend in Kamloops, with nine delegates from Hope present at the ceremony.
“It’s very good exposure for us. The group is very happy to succeed like we have,” said Victor Smith, chair of the Hope Communities in Bloom Committee. “Communities in Bloom is more than just flowers. It’s about the overall town and quality of life.”
The provincial Communities in Bloom judges toured the community in July and made short stops at numerous points of interest, including You Grow Food Aquaponics and Thacker Marsh. They were also treated to a tour of the area in the air, courtesy of Valley Helicopters.
The community was evaluated on things like floral displays, heritage conservation, volunteerism, infrastructure, tidiness of the town, special developments, and projects and partnerships.
The judges noted that the community has much to offer people who either pass through town or choose to stay and visit. They were impressed by the dedicated team of volunteers who “go above and beyond what is expected.” In their evaluation, they also noted that the Othello-Quintette Tunnels are not just an asset to Hope but to the province.
“These tunnels are obviously the pride of the community,” the judges said. “The tunnels were built at great danger to the many workers who toiled there. The terrain is unbelievably difficult, and it’s hard to fathom how the spans were constructed without loss of life.”
They suggested that some signage and story boards be erected to pay homage to courageous workers.
The provincial Communities in Bloom program aims to inspire communities to enhance and sustain the visual appeal of neighbourhoods, public spaces, parks and streetscapes through the imaginative use of regionally-appropriate plants and landscaping with attention to environmental stewardship and to preserve heritage and cultural assets.
The local Communities in Bloom Committee received $5,000 in funding from the district this year and relied on 32 volunteers to run the program, logging a total of 406 hours.