Recent History – 1999
Dec. 10, 1999
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
Dawson Creek is a three bloom community. So say the judges of the Communities in Bloom competition according to their report released recently. The Mile Zero City accumulated 604 out of a possible 1,000 points, leading to a rating of three blooms out of five.
The rating shows that while Dawson Creek’s beautification is not bad, there’s room for improvement.
The judges, who were here in August as part of the nation-wide contest, also supplied some written comments.
Generally, they said that there was strong community support for heritage conservation, while the environmental protection and habitat restoration along Dawson Creek has increased citizen awareness.
And the city has a “very enthusiastic and involved volunteer group of citizens who have contributed greatly to the first-year entry.”
General recommendations include installation of more underground automatic sprinkling systems, particularly in high profile areas. As well, more trees should be planted along city boulevards, there should be an inventory of all trees on public lands and a plan for their care and maintenance, and there should be horticultural training for staff.
And there should be an initiative to improve the look of the commercial-industrial area with clean-up and landscaping programs and perhaps a contest among businesses.
Beautification committee chair Bev Dahlen said the group is taking a look at the recommendations and deciding where to go from here.
“What we were wanting to do is to let people know the results of the evaluation,” she said. “From that we’re hoping that they go back to their respective groups and come up with a project or something that their group can do to improve Dawson Creek.”
The judging was broken down into eight areas. Here’s a look at how Dawson Creek fared in each, and what comments the judges had:
Tidiness effort: The city scored 63 out of 100.
Judges said the community is generally clean and litter free in the public areas and there has been a promising start in the commercial areas.
But private residential areas, although generally tidy, could have benefited from greater awareness of the city’s entry into the Communities in Bloom program. “Homeowners could have made a stronger effort to keep their properties tidier,” the judges said.
Environmental effort: The city scored 56 out of 100.
The bylaw prohibiting recyclable materials from going into the landfill was “very innovative” and the Dawson Creek restoration project and the residential composting program also received accolades as did the D.C. Recycling Depot.
But more programs in schools and involvement of children was recommended.
Community involvement: The city scored 65 out of 100.
The services clubs were singled out for their significant contribution, and the horticultural and beautification committees were also highly commended.
Heritage: The city scored 61 out of 100.
The relocation of the grain elevator to NAR Park “was an outstanding effort” while the Walter Wright Pioneer Village shows a strong commitment to preserving the heritage of the region.
But the older buildings in the downtown core could be upgraded to improve their appearance. A good example of such an effort is the Alaska Hotel.
Urban forestry development: The city scored 84 out of 150.
The community forest near the Ministry of Forests building was deemed a positive start, while attention to control of native grasses growing around the young trees, and timely replacement of dead trees was recommended.
Continuation of the boulevard tree planting program was recommended, as was a tree inventory, a plan outlining future planting programs, and staff training in correct horticultural practices.
Landscaped areas: The city scored 84 out of 150.
Planting beds along the main roads was a good start but would be enhanced by installation of underground irrigation. “Additional planting which include flowering plants would greatly enhance other public areas,” the judges said.
The horticultural society and the beautification committee were commended for the landscaped appearance of Pioneer Village, NAR Park, Peace Park, and the many street landscapes.
Floral arrangements: The city scored 113 out of 150.
Efforts at the Ralph Thomsen garden, Pioneer Village, and the busy traffic areas were commended.
The judges said that introducing hanging baskets into the business areas can be a strong incentive for others to follow. “However, at the time of judging, the plants appeared to be severely stressed. A more effective watering method would greatly improve the appearance of these flowers. Consideration should also be given to the use of larger planters with greater soil capacity.”
Turf areas: The city scored 78 out of 150.
At the time of judging, drought conditions prevailed and unirrigated turf areas were severely stressed. There were also many areas heavily infested with turf weeds. “Introduction of irrigation would assist in the health and vigour of the desired grass species, making them better able to compete with broad-leafed weeds.”
Many areas of unmowed grass were also noted, raising a concern about possible fire hazard and a consequent loss of young trees.