Maple Creek was the winner in the provincial population category of 2,001-3,000. It was the only community in Saskatchewan in the competitive category, but the local CiB committee is very excited the town earned a full five blooms.
CiB member Sally Chant said the group of volunteers had a work plan based on previous judges’ comments, which she believes contributed to the fantastic results this year.
“We put into practice some of the things that they had suggested,” she said. “They were looking at everything from the cemetery to the landfill to SARCAN to tidiness to trees. All of those things came into play, not just flowers downtown.”
She noted the landfill looks a lot better than it did four years ago, which was a town undertaking. The parks in town are looking great, and residents made more of an effort with their own front yards and back alleys for this summer’s Yard of the Week competition.
The committee was pleased to see the community and town employees working hard to make the town look great.
Andrew Exelby, Saskatchewan’s CiB co-ordinator and the parks and open spaces consultant for Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association, said judges were very impressed by Maple Creek’s heritage district during their visit in August. They took notice of the effort to preserve historic buildings – especially when taking into account the flood of June 2010.
“They’re very impressed with how that whole area’s come back, because we saw the community that year as well,” Exelby said.
Judges also enjoyed the unique aspects of the community, such as its focus on its western way of life.
“Your cowboy crossing signs at pedestrian walkways – all those unique items aren’t seen in other communities and really do help create a tourist destination for Maple Creek, and preserving all that is very important,” Exelby said.
The sign corridors along the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 21 were another interesting aspect of the community. Judges liked the western-themed designs atop each of the signs that created consistency and were inviting.
Having not just one, but two museums in town to preserve the history of Maple Creek was noted as well. The scale of the museums was exceptional for a rural Saskatchewan community, Exelby pointed out.
The town’s urban forestry was also praised.
“You have a very large tree canopy, which is a very important thing for most of our prairie communities,” Exelby said.
Overall, the judges were pleased with the tidiness and care taken by residents to show the pride they have in their community.
“They were impressed with the overall engagement residents have in Maple Creek and the obvious pride of ownership they have,” Exelby added.
Representatives from the local CiB committee will be attending the provincial conference in Humboldt later this year where they will accept the award.
The CiB committee is selling calendars featuring photos from local yards. The calendars sell for $10 and are available at Kelli Dee Floral, Pharmasave, Lansdall Pharmacy, Daily Grind, Hair Barn, and Maple Creek News-Times. All proceeds go to the local CiB group to help fund future projects.