Communities in Bloom, a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement annually hosts a Sustainable Communities Contest. The focus of the contest is to support sustainable communities where people want to work and live now and in the future.
“Canadian Forces wings, bases and stations have participated wholeheartedly in our contest for many years,” said Raymond Carriere, Founding President of Communities in Bloom.
In July and August, trained volunteer judges travelled to participating DND communities to evaluate contest submissions. The evaluation criteria is varied and was particular to each community.
Under the category of tidiness judges looked for overall effort made by the residents to clean up litter and repaint surfaces. Communities that took an environmental initiative with respect to policies, by-laws, programs and best practices scored higher.
“The judges are pretty good about modifying the evaluation criteria for wings and garrisons. Those communities aren’t going to look like a typical downtown spaces,” said Carriere.
Communities in Bloom consider waste reduction and diversion rate to landfill, water conservation and other sustainability practices on DND property as important as within the civilian community.
Heritage, another criteria for judging, is one of the most important components judges look at on military bases. They examined at how well historical buildings and the areas surrounding them were maintained.
Included under the criteria of landscape is the year-round planning, design, construction and maintenance of parks and green spaces. Floral display evaluation includes flowerbeds, carpet bedding, containers, baskets and window boxes in the living quarters and all around the base. There are certain spaces on DND properties that, for security reasons do not apply.
In recent years Communities in Bloom has financially supported several DND communities, facilitating their entry in the Sustainable Communities Contest.
“It is to my understanding DND may not fund contest participation directly. It is up to the wing, base or station to both participate and to come up with the entry fee. The fee itself covers the mileage and accommodations for the judges,” said Carriere.
Winning communities are given a Bloom Designation. CFB Borden has received a Five-Bloom rating. In 2012 CFB Cold Lake received a Four-Bloom rating. In 2009 and 2011, Garrison Petawawa won the competition and title of Best Base in Canada.
Please visit www.communitiesinbloom.ca for more information on the annual Sustainable Communities Contest.