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Turner Valley to blossom in beautification challenge

The Town's inaugural Bloomin’ Turner Valley Contest challenges citizens to stack their gardening and landscaping skills up against one another in a friendly competition.
Jonathan Gordon
Turner Valley Coun. Jonathan Gordon, in his xeriscaped front yard, implemented the Bloomin' Turner Valley initiative this season. (Tammy Rollie/Western Wheel)

The competition will heat up in Turner Valley this summer as town councillors take on the role of judges in a beautification contest.

The Town is hosting its inaugural Bloomin’ Turner Valley Contest, challenging homeowners, business owners and organization to stack their properties and planting projects up against one another in any of five specified categories.

The idea came from Coun. Jonathan Gordon after council decided to supply a dozen oversized garbage bins in neighbourhoods throughout town for residents to discard their home and yard waste in May. About three tons of waste was collected in two weeks.

“I felt that with the cleanup we did in our town, let’s follow that up with something,” he said. “It’s a community spirit initiative.”

Having previously lived in a small Ontario community that participated in the Communities in Bloom initiative, Gordon said he wanted to bring something similar to Turner Valley.

“It created a really good spirit in the community and friendly competition with neighbours,” he said. “I thought, let’s do something different here, even though we’re a little bit late in the season. Let’s do our own initiative and see where that goes.”

Categories participants can enter include Home Grown Favourite (residential flower display), Best Non-Residential Display, Community Spirit (a garden/flower box display that lifts spirits), Conservation and Environment (properties that use xeriscaping, water conservation or recycled materials) and Creative Kids’ Gardening (including flowers, vegetables, bee boxes and bat and bird houses).

A winner for each category will be selected and awarded $100, and runners up will receive $50, with the money coming from the Town’s community support fund.

Gordon said judging will begin July 24 and the winners will be announced on Aug. 7.

“The category I’m most excited about is the category that reflects conservation, whether that be rock gardens or water collection,” he said. “That’s the one I’m intrigued with.”

Gordon said he would like to see more than 200 participants in Bloomin’ Turner Valley’s first year.

He’s been posting details about the contest on social media.

“I find the majority of people really do take pride in their residences and businesses,” he said. “Because many people are home we wanted to encourage people to get out, maintain the regulated physical distancing, but also to get to know their neighbours a little bit more. There’s a little bit of a community spirit element and a bit of an economic element as well.”

With the Town currently reviewing its unsightly premises bylaw, Gordon expects that Bloomin’ Turner Valley will balance things out by putting a positive spin on property maintenance.

“We’re not here to penalize,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that we were offering residents the opportunity to get rid of the garbage that may have been accumulating on their properties and then follow that up with a positive initiative by taking pride in our properties.”

Gordon said Bloomin’ Turner Valley has the potential to grow in upcoming years.

“This year is a very skeletal model, I suppose,” he said. “We definitely do want that to build.”

Tammy Rollie, OkotoksToday.ca




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Tammy Rollie

About the Author: Tammy Rollie

Tammy Rollie is a staff reporter at OkotoksToday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper, focusing on Wheel's West, local arts and culture and entertainment. For story tips contact trollie@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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