Morden wins four blooms in competition

Left, Cathy Shalnk (MB Communities in Bloom); Leanna Wiebe, Ina Hollett, Clare Agnew (Morden Communities in Bloom Committee members); Taylor Gyselinck and Michelle Balharry (Communities in Bloom judges). (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Morden Times)

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The City of Morden received four blooms in the awards session of the Manitoba Communities in Bloom 21st annual conference and awards.

Morden hosted the event which ran Sept. 6-7.

Only one community with a population of more than 5,000 won five blooms. The City of Selkirk earned that designation. Morden was given 80 per cent, just two per cent short of a five bloom total.

Judges were impressed with the community however. “Upon entering the community, the extremely tidy Thornhill St. stood out with the judges immediately noticing the tremendous impact of Morden’s mature tree canopy and their litter free streets,” they said. “The bright yellow attraction signs which highlighted the way to the important destinations in Morden were appreciated and are a great idea to help visitors find attractions and venues easily.”

The Access Event Centre was also singled out for special mention.

Morden hosted the two day event which included speakers such as Dr. Gordon Goldsborough of the Manitoba Historical Society, and reports on Morden’s Urban Forestry plan, the Agriculture Research station, Enviro Clean Composting, immigration, the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, and Katie Cares.

Organizer Clare Agnew said as host they have a lot of freedom in choosing the agenda.

“It was up to our local host committee as to who our speakers would be and what the theme is,” she said. “We chose Discover Our Growing Community.”

Agnew said the conference is also a great time to see what other communities are doing and incorporating new ideas.

“We don’t all have to come up with the idea ourselves,” she said. “We may as well use what somebody else is doing.”

Agnew said they were pleased with the support from volunteers and the business community, describing it as unwavering.

“I appreciate the support we get from the business community,” she said.

Manitoba Communities in Bloom President Don Budinsky said he was impressed with this year’s conference.

“We think it’s been a fantastic conference,” he said. “We had top notch speakers, the hospitality has been second to none and the networking and connections among the delegates has really been impressive as well.”

The event was also informative. “The conference is really an opportunity for people to come and hear the latest best practices in the criteria or categories that our organization focuses on which includes environmental awareness, tidiness, heritage conservation, urban forest management, landscaped areas, floral displays and so it gets people talking about these areas,” he said.

Budinsky watched communities change their approach over the years.

“Communities are really looking at how to do things in a sustainable manner, whether it’s environmentally, economically, socially,” he said.

“It’s not just municipal government and their employees and their programs but it’s about community programs,” he added. “What we’re finding is there’s often three, four, five different partners who come together from the overall community to make an initiative happen.”

Budinsky said he was impressed with the overall event.

“Morden’s outdone itself and raised the standard for the quality of the educational sessions,” he said. “Morden’s done a fantastic job.”