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Town staff are recommending that Cobourg participate once again in Communities in Bloom.   Cobourg successfully participated in 1997 and 1999 but has not participated since.  The idea is to set up a committee to organize Cobourg’s entry in the world wide competition to showcase Cobourg’s “visual appeal of neighbourhoods, public spaces, parks and streetscapes through the imaginative use of flowers, plants, trees and landscaping, through the preservation of heritage and cultural assets and with attention to environmental stewardship.”

The idea started in Europe but since 1995 has been active in Canada and to some extent in the U.S.  At judging time, the community is judged on:

  • Tidiness
  • Environmental action
  • Heritage conservation
  • Urban forestry
  • Landscape
  • Floral displays
  • Youth involvement
  • Community gardeners

Results are expressed as a number of “Blooms” with 5 blooms being the top award.  Towns with top ratings are eligible to compete in the following year’s national or international competition.  In 1999 Cobourg competed internationally.

Cobourg’s results

1997 Five Blooms Ontario
1997 National winner
1999 Five Blooms

But the key criterion is Community involvement and motivating the people of Cobourg would be the main task of the planned organizing committee.

According to the National Communities in Bloom web site, the committee is usually composed of local citizens, including one member of council and members of associations, businesses and organizations interested in horticulture, heritage and improving community life.

The committee’s objectives would be:

  • To involve the community by means of local contests, which increase awareness about the program, its benefits and opportunities.
  • To act as a liaison with the municipal authorities and Communities in Bloom.

The benefits of participation (and presumably getting a good score) are described as:

  • Increased civic pride and community involvement
  • Environmental stewardship through the enhancement of green spaces
  • Mobilization of citizens, groups, organizations, businesses and the municipality
  • Best practices and Information exchange
  • Valuable information and feedback from the judges
  • Economic development and increased property values
  • Marketing and promotional opportunities
  • Positive benefits for the tourism, hospitality and retail industries
  • Improved quality of life
  • Participation from all ages and walks of life of the community

The effort is spread over three years with the first year as a learning period and hopefully years two and three rising in the ranks.  Cobourg should do well given the flower baskets and Heritage buildings on King Street but more is needed.

The expected cost to the Town would be $10,000 per year for three years. 

Council will vote on the idea on Monday Nov 9 at their Committee of the Whole Meeting and after ratification at the regular Council meeting on Nov 16 [Update:  This was approved Nov 16] will no doubt be looking to set up a committee.

 

 

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