CIB judges tour town and country

Killarney’s crack at this year’s International Challenge (medium) of Communities in Bloom evaluated over three days


Two international judges rolled into town on Wednesday, for their three-day tour and evaluation of the local floral beauty, care of the environment, and of the community.

Judges Larry Hall, of Buena Vista, Saskatchewan, and Bernadette Solon, of Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland, arrived on Wednesday afternoon, on a beautiful sunny day, with blooms smiling on every corner.

And the judges will be seeing some changes and improvements in the town, say the local Communities in Bloom volunteers.

“There are a few new highlights as far as the judges are concerned,” said CIB member Shawna Phillips. “Keith’s Korner wasn’t there at all in 2016 when we last had the judges, and we also now have a rain garden there.  Plus we have 18 metal sculptures erected in the town, created by Boissevain artist Don Engbrecht. We have the Maple Leaf Garden beside The Guide, and the Heritage Home for the Arts is also new.”

The three-day itinerary for the two international judges included visits and views on day one to the Leaf and Petal, Connie Blixhavn’s rain garden, the Freeman property, the White Mud Creek Trail, and the golf course (with a top supper served up).

On Thursday, July 19, it included visits and views of the Agricultural Museum, the JAV David Museum and Emerald Park, Bayside PCH, Centennial Park, the Ag Campground, the new Heritage Home for the Arts, the new Habitat for Humanity build on Broadway, Keith’s Korner, and lunch and a tour of the Mary Ann Moore Wellness Centre.

The judges were impressed with the transformation of the century-old Heritage House on Water Street into a vibrant new arts centre.

“Buildings need to be used, and I am pleased to hear that this building has been used over the years,” said Bernadette Solon, who is an architect in Ireland. “It was well built from day one. Do a visitor book, and you will have a bit of clout going forward,” she recommended to Eunice Buhler, who has spearheaded the $250,000 re-creation project.

“It is an incredible building, the way they have done the work,” said Larry Hall. “The gallery space and lighting are wonderful. We are doing a similar project at home, at Regina Beach, with a schoolhouse.”

The judges joined a number of the local CIB members for a delicious lunch at the Wellness Centre, which included freshly prepared salads, sandwiches and wraps, and a luscious, small slice of cheesecake.

After lunch the judges and CIB members visited the water treatment plant, the cemetery, Kerry Park, the Westside Community Garden, the Shamrock Centre, the Killarney Food Bank, the new HyLife Feed Mill, and the Nuisance Grounds.

The day concluded with a community barbeque supper held at the local fire hall (and grilled up by the local firemen), with proceeds dedicated to the future building of a new fire hall at the corner of Broadway and South Railway.

After the BBQ meal, the judges returned to their B&B accommodation to work on their evaluations, and to prepare for leaving Killarney the following day.

The National and International results of the 2018 Edition of Communities in Bloom will be announced in Strathcona County, Alberta, on September 26 to 29, during the Symposium and Awards Ceremonies.

UNDER THE SHADING CHESTNUT TREE – International Communities in Bloom competition judges Bernadette Solon (left) and Larry Hall (right) examine a heritage designated horse chestnut tree on Thursday, behind the Heritage Home for the Arts on Water Street. Shawna Phillips (centre) was part of the local CIB team escorting the judges around the town and area earlier this week.

HERITAGE HOME TOUR – Eunice Buhler (left) takes the judges on a tour of the Heritage Home for the Arts.

A COUPLE NEW HIGHLIGHTS – Keith’s Korner, with its rain garden, and 18 unique metal structures erected around town, are just a couple of the new highlights since the CIB judges last visited in 2016.