Essex hosts visit from national Communities in Bloom judges

Filed under: In Our Community,IN THE NEWS |

CIBDoug-Sweet-Leads-Communities-in-Bloom-officials-on-a-tour-of-Essex-Centre by Adam Gault

National judges, from Communities in Bloom, made their way through the Town of Essex on Wednesday, July 26 to assess the municipality for the 2017 program.

Founded in 1995, Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization established to foster civic pride, environmental responsibility, and local beautification through community and voluntary involvement.

Communities in Bloom officials judge participating municipalities in six categories, including tidiness, environmental awareness, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscaped areas, and floral displays.

Over the past several years, the Town of Essex has had tremendous success in the Communities in Bloom competition at the national level, having earned recognition and acclaim for a number of local landmarks, including the War of 1812 Peace Garden, the Colchester Schoolhouse, the Historic Essex Murals, and the Harrow Veterans Memorial Park.

CIBJudges-Larry-Hall(L)-and-Marylaine-de-Chantal-(R)-take-in-the-Historic-Essex-Train-StationThis year, Essex officials were looking to build upon that success and highlight the continued improvements being made across the municipality.

Doug Sweet, the Director of Community Services for the Town of Essex, explained a strong component of this year’s tour focused on highlighting the characteristics of the four centres of Essex. A strong emphasis was also put on displaying community involvement and active living, which is exemplified in the continued maintenance and expansion of the Greenway.

“We want to show the quality of life offered in Essex and what is unique about our Town,” Sweet explained.

“It’s important to highlight the things we’re proud of and the vision for our Town.”

To further highlight the municipality’s commitment to unity and active living, Chris Nepszy, the Director of Infrastructure and Development for the Town of Essex, presented plans for the Town’s continued commitment to the local Greenway trail system.

In his presentation to the Communities in Bloom representatives, Nepszy explained Essex’s role in the County’s 20-year County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) plan.

The plan includes further expansion and connectivity of new and current trails, with the goal of a fully integrated trail system by the mid-2030s in promotion of healthier and more active lifestyles.

Larry Hall, one of the judges representing Communities in Bloom, explained beyond exceptional performance in the six categories, judges can also take into account whether communities have acted upon prior suggestions made by officials on previous visits, but also had to take into consideration whether the towns had the means to act upon them.

“I don’t want to pre-judge based on prior visits,” Hall said, noting that the four centres of Essex make for a unique and diverse community.

For more information on Communities in Bloom, visit communitiesinbloom.ca.