Maple Creek is the winner of the up-to-4,500-population category at the Communities in Bloom competition.
Maple Creek received a 5 Blooms — Bronze rating and a special mention for Innovative Landfill Site during the 2017 National/International Symposium and Awards Ceremonies in Ottawa-Gatineau.
The Town of Maple Creek competed against Bruderheim Alta., Hanna, Alta., Merrickville-Wolford, Ont., Valhalla Centre, Alta. and Windsor, N.S.
This is the first time Maple Creek won an award at the national level, previously having won at the provincial level. Although winning an award at the provincial level is an impressive achievement in itself, economic development officer Royce Pettyjohn says winning on the national scale is tremendous.
“We were quite shocked and over the moon with the results,” he said. “We were competing against other communities of our size across the country; we weren’t sure we would win so hearing the announcement over the weekend in Ottawa is overwhelming.”
Over the summer, trained volunteer judges travelled to participating communities to evaluate the overall contributions of municipal council and departments; industry; businesses and the private sector — including volunteer efforts — in regards to the following criteria: Tidiness, Environmental Action, Heritage Conservation, Urban Forestry, Landscape and Floral Displays.
Each year the judges choose a particular element of the community in their judging visit that stands out and deserves special recognition. In the past, Maple Creek had received special recognition for work done in the Heritage District. This year the judges chose to recognize the innovate work the town is doing for the landfill. Following their evaluation of the town landfill, volunteer judges Lucy Chang and Louise Dumouchel spoke highly of the improvements made.
“The Town of Maple Creek’s landfill has undergone such a transformation that it has been selected as The Business of the Month by the business sector,” they said. “Under the diligent and committed care of the new caretaker, the landfill presents a pristine business front with neat compartments of sorted garbage and a friendly entrance with potted plants, birdhouses atop fence posts, recycled ornaments, a tempting 3-hole golf course, and seasonal lighting,” they said.
Pettyjohn says all members of the community should be proud of these results.
“Members of the community need to congratulate themselves and feel pride in the accomplishments,” he said. “It takes the participation of every resident, every business and every non-profit organization in the community to win a national award like this.”
One of the things that stood out this year to the judges was the aftermath of the Maple Creek Heritage Festival. Judges were curious as to what the town would look like after such a huge celebration and were very pleased to see not a single item of litter on the ground.
“I think this speaks to the level of respect people have for the community and the pride that they feel for their hometown,” said Pettyjohn. “It also shows the fact that businesses themselves are actively engaged in the Communities in Bloom Five for Five program, which encourages people to do five minutes of tidying around their properties five days a week.”
The victory for the town brings not only physical trophies but as well Canada-wide recognition, which in term brings more tourism.
“Thanks to our great community of Maple Creek, we are bringing home the hardware,” said Nola Sanderson with the Maple Creek Communities in Bloom committee. “(We want) to let everyone know how important this is, it’s like the Stanley Cup of competitive gardening.”
The National Awards are offered each year by the National Capital Commission. All are identical, created from granite extracted from the Canadian Shield in Quebec. Each piece of granite is carefully selected from the NCC’s inventory for the Confederation Boulevard ceremonial esplanade that encircles the heart of the Capital Region, the core of Ottawa-Gatineau.