Town eyeing ‘bloom’ program

Depending on what the Administration and Finance executive committee recommends to council down the road, Fort Frances might see its flora recognized and ranked as part of the national “Communities In Bloom” program.
Mayor Dan Onichuk brought the matter before council Monday night after he recently was approached by the Fort Frances Horticultural Society about getting the town involved in the program.
“Communities in Bloom” is a Canadian beautification program that provides information and education on—and awards “Bloom Ratings” for achievements in—floral displays, landscapes, urban forestry, community involvement, heritage conservation, environmental awareness, and tidiness for cities and towns across the nation.
Participating municipalities become part of a provincial competition and are rated on a system of “blooms” after being evaluated by a jury of two judges, who would visit here this summer.
This possibly can lead to participating in a national competition with other communities in the program.
Being rated as a “Community in Bloom” translates into opportunities for provincial, national, and possibly international visibility, increased tourism (and tourist dollars), and increasing civic pride and community involvement, according to information from “Communities in Bloom.”^As well, feedback from the jury and the “Communities in Bloom” network as to what the town may be doing right or wrong in the area of beautification can be used to make improvements.
But whether the town will participate in the program depends on if the Administration and Finance executive committee thinks it’s worth the cost.
The registration fee for a community of between 5,001 and 20,000 people costs $400.
Plus, Coun. Tannis Drysdale noted the town would have to accommodate the two provincial judges for two nights and prepare for the evaluation to take place this July or August.
Added to the entry fee, this could run between $1,500-2,000, she noted.
Clerk Glenn Treftlin noted the judges could be billeted as a costsaving measure.
Mayor Onichuk asked the rest of council if the town was going to go ahead with applying to the program or not, adding the town—and not the horticultural society—must be the one to apply to participate and that details, like accommodations, could be worked out later.
Coun. Roy Avis stressed that as a financial decision, council simply couldn’t agree to go ahead and apply to be a “Community in Bloom” without first passing the costs by the Administration and Finance executive committee.
The matter will come back before council at a future meeting with a recommendation from the Administration and Finance executive committee.