Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit program committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility, and beautification through community involvement, with a focus on enhancing green spaces in communities.
Bowen Island participated as a novice in the provincial edition of Communities in Bloom in 2015, and was an evaluated member in 2016. On July 14, 2016, volunteer judges from BC Communities in Bloom visited the Island and evaluated municipal, business and residential sectors of Bowen life on the basis of:
- environmental action
- heritage conservation
- urban forestry
- floral displays
Bowen Island: a three bloom community
Last July, judges from the BC Communities in Bloom program visited Bowen Island to evaluate the community based on criteria such as environmental action, tidiness, landscape and floral displays.
As a result of that evaluation, the Bowen in Bloom committee is pleased to announce that Bowen Island has been awarded three blooms! We would like to thank the volunteers who made this possible with the valuable contributions of their time, efforts and expertise. Special mention goes to Holly Graff, who was nominated for Community Champion.
Read the 2016 Communities in Bloom Evaluation for Bowen Island
Read Bowen in Bloom, the Community Profile Book produced by the Communities in Bloom Committee for 2016.
The Communities in Bloom Committee is a sub-committee of the Snug Cove Improvements Working Group and is composed of municipal staff, councillors and volunteer community members.
Congratulations to recipients of Bowen in Bloom Innovation Grants
Earlier this summer, Bowen Island Municipality sponsored a small grants program for summer beautification projects in order to stimulate community involvement for the Communities in Bloom judges’ tour. Open to any Bowen business, organization or individual, the matching grant competition resulted in four awards.
Cherie Westmoreland of the Bowen Island Seniors Housing Cooperative (Bowen Court) received $500 to help develop a floral display to complement signage and improve the appearance of the property frontage. Wynn Nielsen was awarded $500 to add decorative pots and plants on the Village Square patio, working with the approval of the business property owners. Tourism Bowen Island’s Jody Lorenz requested $400 for decorative planters and flowers for Boulevard Cottage, a municipal building in Snug Cove. Margaret Miller of Artisan Office Services will use her $500 grant toward a new bench and planter in front of her Artisan Square shop.
BIM is pleased to have supported these improvements and looks forward to the Innovation Grants becoming an annual program.
How does Communities in Bloom benefit Bowen Island?
Other communities have benefited in the following ways. As Bowen continues its participation in Communities in Bloom, we expect to realize some of the same benefits.
- 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
- Decreased vandalism
- Increased civic pride and community involvement
- Participation from all ages and walks of life of the community
- Mobilization of citizens, groups, organizations, businesses and municipality working together
- Year-round projects and continuous improvement for the entire community
- Information and cultural exchange within the community and with neighbouring, national and international communities
- Improved quality of life
And, most importantly:
Environmental stewardship through the enhancement of green spaces
- Adaptation to climate change
- Offsetting the production of greenhouse gases
- Mitigation of heat islands
- Reducing soil erosion
- Improving air quality
- Responsible use of water
- Conservation of green spaces
Definitions of Evaluation Criteria
Tidiness includes an overall tidiness effort by the municipality, businesses, institutions and the residents throughout the community. Elements for evaluation are parks and green spaces, medians, boulevards, sidewalks, streets; municipal, commercial, institutional and residential properties; ditches, road shoulders, vacant lots, signs and buildings; weed control, litter clean-up (including cigarette butts and gum), graffiti prevention/removal and vandalism deterrent programs.
Environmental action pertains to the impact of human activities on the environment and the subsequent efforts and achievements of the community with respect to: policies, by-laws, programs and best practices for waste reduction and landfill diversion, composting sites, landfill sites, hazardous waste collections, water conservation, energy conservation, and environmental stewardship activities under the guiding principles of sustainable development pertaining to green spaces.
Heritage conservation includes efforts to preserve natural and cultural heritage within the community. Preservation of natural heritage pertains to policies, plans and actions concerning all elements of biodiversity including flora and fauna ecosystems and associated geological structures and formations. Cultural conservation refers to the heritage that helps define the community including the legacy of tangible (built/hard assets) elements such as heritage buildings, monuments, memorials, cemeteries, artifacts, museums and intangible elements such as traditions, customs, festivals and celebrations. The participation of groups such as historical societies and conservation groups are considered.
Urban Forestry includes the efforts of the municipality, businesses, institutions and residents with regards to written policies, by-laws, standards for tree management (selection, planting, and maintenance), long and short-term management plans, tree replacement policies, pollinator friendly tree selection, tree inventory, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), heritage, memorial and commemorative trees.
Landscape includes planning, design, construction and maintenance of parks and green spaces suitable for the intended use and location on a year-round basis. Elements for evaluation include: native and introduced materials; balance of plants, materials and constructed elements; appropriate integration of hard surfaces and art elements, use of turf and groundcovers. Landscape design should harmonize the interests of all sectors of the community. Standards of execution and maintenance should demonstrate best practices, including quality of naturalization, use of groundcovers and wildflowers along with turf management.
Floral displays evaluates efforts of the municipality, businesses, institutions and residents to design, plan, execute, and maintain floral displays of high quality standards. Evaluation includes the design and arrangements of flowers and plants (annuals, perennials, bulbs, ornamental grasses, edible plants, water efficient and pollinator friendly plants) in the context of originality, distribution, location, diversity and balance, colour, and harmony This pertains to flowerbeds, carpet bedding, containers, baskets and window boxes.