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Back in bloom

Athabasca will compete for Communities in Bloom title in 2022
Comms in Bloom
Athabasca District Chamber of Commerce treasurer Carol Alberts and Athabasca mayor Rob Balay holding the town’s recognition for the 2021 Communities in Bloom competition at town council’s May 3 regular meeting. Athabasca will be taking part again this year, but in a more competitive category. 

ATHABASCA – It's one of the features of Athabasca, most visitors note as they pass through — it’s very lush, very colourful and obviously very well maintained — and those qualities will be back on display this summer as the town is evaluated on how bloomin’ great it looks by Communities in Bloom judges. 

Athabasca has been recognized before, as the sign proudly announcing its Communities in Bloom recognition at the south edge of town on Highway 2 tells visitors, and it will get back into the competitive spirit  

Athabasca District Chamber of Commerce treasurer Carol Alberts paid Athabasca town councillors a visit at their May 3 meeting to share some of the results of the 2021 contest, which was a subdued affair due to the pandemic, and to share they have entered a more competitive category for 2022. 

“I did want to say thank you for the fabulous job with the planters, plantings, maintenance and all of that business. They say wonderful things about what a great job you all have done, as well as a number of other community organizations that are part of it. Kudos to us,” she said before referring to last year’s evaluation.” 

“We did enter in the competitive category this year, as opposed to the friends (category), which we ran in last year. So, the bar is a little higher, guys, but it’s something we did in the past.” 

She noted the 2021 evaluation gave Athabasca an overall score of 82.15 per cent, and a 5-Bloom rating after evaluating areas such as community appearance, environmental action, heritage conservation, tree management, landscape and plant and floral displays. 

The judges commented, “We were lucky to visit on a beautiful day that was cool and pleasant with little smoke. We greatly appreciated your generous hospitality. 

“The Town of Athabasca has a proud history with Communities in Bloom, winning nationally in 2005, to be followed by several more provincial and national awards and honours over the years. The judges are very pleased that the community of Athabasca was able to participate in the Friends category of our Provincial CiB program this year. This has been a difficult year for the community with drought conditions and heavy smoke from forest fires in addition to the pandemic.” 

The beautification of the downtown core received a special comment as well. 

“Athabasca’s downtown area and Riverfront Park are beautifully planted and maintained. This gives the town a relaxed, holiday air that must increase tourism as well as the pleasure of the residents. Information boards in the park add a historical note and the mighty Athabasca River flows on by.” 

Another comment stated: “It is always good to see utility boxes wrapped but it was exceptional to see a dumpster in the Athabasca University area wrapped.” 

There is some work to be done though, said Alberts, noting she was committed to “engaging the business community to become more involved in some of the things they go through on the evaluation and will be focusing on storefront housekeeping and curb appeal.  

Alberts also said they hope to include small contests town residents can take part in, or perhaps nominate their neighbour for the work they do keeping their own yard beautiful. 

“I see the community getting behind this and have stepped it up a little bit, from being friendly to being competitive,” said mayor Rob Balay.

Chris Zwick

About the Author: Chris Zwick

Athabasca Advocate editor
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