2016 Communities in Bloom Committee and National Judges - Yvonne Medvescek, Karri Loadman, Geri Kreway, Roger Younker, Lorraine Davyduke, Diane Olech, Carol Korchinski, Helen Hillier, Lynda Kowalyk and Elaine Elash
Governor General's Sovereign Medal for Volunteers - CiB - Helen Hillier, Linda Kowalyk, Elaine Elash, Yvonne Medvescek & Carol Korchinski
Ituna’s Communities in Bloom members and the National Judges.
Judging for the National Communities in Bloom competition took place in Ituna on July 25,26 & 27. Results will be announced in October/16
Judges Roger Younker and Karri Loadman chat with Ituna News Editor, Heidi Spilchuk
A pancake breakfast, sponsored by Viterra and Hypor, was held to honor volunteers and meet the judges
Ituna's Millenium Park
Crossroads Park at the corner of Main Street and Highway 15
Our Community Orchard was created in 2012 and now produces saskatoons, apples & cherries
Baskets of flowers hang along Main Street
Ituna's Administration Office
Ituna, you did yourself proud! What a beautiful place to live!
Keep up the good work. Your community is a standard that all communities should strive to attain. Everyone in town seems to have taken CiB to heart and therefore the tidiness overall is exemplary. You have a really good start to Avena Park. We would suggest a few benches. Have you thought about planting oats in one of the beds? The orchard is outstanding. As the years go by, it will be a legacy that will benefit everyone (not only from an esthetic point but from the usefulness of the product). The fact that you have been able to keep money from the grant for upkeep and replacement is terrific. We applaud you for doing this. The efforts shown by the residents spill over to the entire community and the pride shows in all areas.
TIDINESS – 133.50/150.00
A very, very tidy and well looked after community. Cemeteries are amazing and ranks among the best we have seen. Institutions have done a good job, i.e. Sunshine Manor, the tidied up the front area of the school, the campground and the golf club. Recommendations:
Some of the businesses need some encouragement to clean up the frontages of their establishments. We recognize the work being done with town entrance signs but may we make a couple of suggestions? The signs need work in showing them off with color, shapes and different heights, not just in front of the signs but also behind as a backdrop. Color need not be just flowers but different shades of green. As an example take a look at the “Welcome to Regina” signs with the Tree and Shrub backgrounds. More signage is also needed at Crossroads Park and on heritage buildings.
ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION– 119.0/150.00
It is good to see that the town is using solar heating at the pool and that the regional park maintenance takes such a keen interest in maintaining the system.
The use of mulch at the orchard is excellent for conserving water and holding down weeds. Congrats on obtaining the mulch from Sask. Power – an action that shows not only environmental action but also cost savings. Your community has an excellent Sarcan recycling depot that is clean and well managed.
We also note that the lagoon area is very well trimmed and free of debris. Recommendations:
A long term plan for the lakes is needed. We see a resource that is totally under used. The lakes could be used for watering, recreation and education.
The burnable pile needs to be separated from the no-burn pile at the landfill area. Right now the piles are too close together and when they burn, both piles will burn, an environmental no-no. The tree pile contains a lot of plastic bags that need to be taken out.
Residents and businesses need to be encouraged to update their light fixtures.
It was noted that the old brick school is going to be demolished. It may be a good idea to try to reclaim the bricks and use them elsewhere in the community such as for a walkway in front of the cenotaph. It would be great project to get a local group to clean them.
HERITAGE CONSERVATION- 126.0/150.0
Continue to see the completion of moving the museum to the downtown area. It is an excellent site that will be a great attraction to your town. The oat stem at Avena Park is an awesome tribute to the farmers in the area. There is a lot of information, good signage and a good start on plantings. We concur with the committee that benches are needed. You can never have too many benches!! We suggest that when you purchase them that you get a low maintenance type.
The churches and cemeteries are extremely well cared for – a definite highlight. Recommendations:
It is easy to see that there is a strong Ukrainian background in the community. A beautiful church but we also recognize that the church is losing members. Before this part of your history is lost perhaps something can be done to honour the heritage. The new museum would be a good fit. Continue to work on getting the cenotaph accessible. Perhaps you could use some of the bricks from the old school to create a path and a space in front to gather. We talked about native and heritage plants in the CiB profile. Planting oats in Avena Park may be a good fit to recognize the farming heritage.
The orchard is outstanding!!! It is well thought out, well maintained and well managed. Great community effort. The trees are well looked after, they all look very healthy and, for the first year, have an abundance of fruit.
The trees in the community on the whole are well looked after and free from disease. Recommendations:
A drainage strategy needs to be developed to
protect trees like those at the RC cemetery. Consider the replacement value of the trees lost against the cost of pumping the water out of the area. We look forward to the installation of your woodlot. You have a good choice of trees. You could consider acquiring a few different species like Black Walnut, Little Leaf Linden, Bur Oak and Horse Chestnut to name a few. This would add diversity to your already well treed community. They may be more expensive but would definitely increase the WOW factor.
All the lawns (residential, municipal and institutional) are well maintained. Ball diamonds appear to be in good shape. The park is exceptionally well looked after. Recommendations:
As mentioned previously, entrance signs need to be landscaped. Golf Course fairways are exceptional. We noted that you have started installing artificial greens. If you were to put in grass greens there are two sources of water as we see it - the backwashed water from the pool or the lake. You could create a water hazard which would be the reservoir from which you could water the greens.
The high school sitting area really needs a tree or two for shade and appearance.Check all the playground equipment areas. The
surfaces are very hard packed and needs rototilling or be replaced with a different material like rubber pavement. This is a safety issue.
There is a definite color scheme going on in your town whether it was planned or not. Very impressive. Your hanging pots are excellent and very well maintained.
Avena Park is ripe with potential – open, sunlit area begging for more.
We were so pleased to see the pride the residents take in their homes, and the planting at the Sunshine Manor. Recommendations:
The entrance signs need uplift as mentioned in other categories. Not only flowers but shrubs and trees. Try for more diversity in your planters. Considerpotato vine, geranium, lobelia and impatience just to mention a few. You could also try different display modes like mosaics, raised bed, carpet beds, etc. You could perhaps try to get your businesses to buy into the program by offering planters to them – you provide the planter, they plant and maintain them.
This award would never have happen without the help of all the residents/volunteers that continually work towards keeping the Ituna community clean and tidy.
Communities in Bloom Committee
Not Just Flower Baskets
The Town of Ituna is participating in the 2016 National Edition of Communities in Bloom in the Up to 4,500 population category, along with Bruderheim AB, Hanna AB, Maple Creek SK, Windsor NS, Witless Bay NL and Valhalla Centre AB.
On July 25th – 27th, Communities in Bloom judges, Roger Younker from Prince Edward Island and Karri Loadman from Kamloops BC, toured the town of Ituna and evaluated it based on 6 core criteria.
Not only did the judges tour the community of Ituna, they also participated in the Volunteer Breakfast held on July 26th and met many members of the community.
Both Roger and Karri have been involved in Communities in Bloom for many years. Roger has a background in Agriculture, and was a host on Charlottetown’s local CBC Supperhour News program for 27 years. He is an avid rose grower and a member of the American Rose Society. Karri Loadman has a Master of Planning Degree and her own Community Development Company. She teaches at Site Planning in Thompson Rivers University and is Vice- Chair on the BC Provincial Communities in Bloom Committee.
After spending a few days in the community of Ituna, they wanted to be very clear that Communities in Bloom is “not just about flower baskets”. The judges talked about the six criteria that each community is judged by. The criteria are: Tidiness, Environment, Heritage, Urban Forestry, Floral Displays and Landscape.
The judges were very impressed that Ituna is strong in all six categories and they emphasized the importance of maintaining the strengths and then working on weaknesses.
The category of Tidiness explains itself in one word. Karri and Roger commented on good first impressions of a community while driving or walking through it, and how these first impressions can grow to encourage a visitor to make Ituna their home, or to visit more frequently. Investing in a community attracts people who appreciate taking pride in home and community. Tidiness gives the impression of an active caring community.
The landfill, sewer system, and unsightly properties are all covered in the Environmental category. This is where the flower baskets can’t give more points for a community. CiB judges look for proof of sustainable drinking water, rain barrel programs, land fill life cycle and longevity of the sewage system.
The Heritage criteria cover places like museums, cemeteries and churches, as well as natural heritage and green spaces within the community.
Urban Forestry and Landscape deal with points such as the diversity of the trees within a community, the sustainability of the trees and the ability to plan for the lifespan of trees. Lanscaping is not only about private property but also commercial and municipal areas.
Roger and Karri were “blown away” by their first impressions of Ituna. They recognized some of the challenges Ituna faces, considering the highways and railway that run through town, but congratulated all people of Ituna for creating a safe, sustainable and beautiful place to live.
The National results will be announced in Regina SK during the Communities in Bloom Symposium and Awards held on October 27th to 29th.
Courtesy - Heidi Spilchuk- Ituna News
Governor General Sovereign Medal Received
The Sovereign Medal for Volunteers recognizes individuals who volunteer their time and efforts to help their fellow citizens. As an official Canadian Honour, the Medal for Volunteers honours the dedication and commitment of these volunteers.
His Excellency, Governor General David Johnston is honouring individuals involved with Communities in Bloom across the country with this award; people who make us proud every day to be Canadian by the work they do to help others. Five individuals from Ituna have been selected by His Excellency’s office to be among this group of ten people who have received this award throughout Canada.
Elaine Elash, Carol Korchinski and Yvonne Medvescek received the Sovereign Medal of Volunteers for their contribution to the community of Ituna this year. They were honored on October 29th, 2016 in Regina, at the National Communities in Bloom Symposium.
Helen Hillier and Lynda Kowalyk were unable to receive their Governor General Sovereign Medal for Volunteers during the National Communities in Bloom meeting held in late October. Mayor Doug Scully presented the Medals, pins and certificates to Helen and Lynda during an assembly held in Ituna School.
After the presentation of the Medals, Geri Kreway shared some thoughts on volunteerism with the students of Ituna School in which she pointed out the many ways that Ituna’s students have already volunteered their time in and around our community. The students were commended for their help with the Avena Gardens, and the fruit orchard as well as the time they have spent with residents of the Pioneer Lodge and the everyday things students do for each other in the school.
“Most of the time, to volunteer means that you are working side by side with others. This connects you to other human beings as you are working toward a common goal. When you volunteer, you are making connections. You are connected with the community. You are connected with the problem as well as the solution. You are connected to a process – a process in which you believe. Through your actions and involvement, you are benefitting others as well as yourself.
Whether it is summer, fall, winter or spring, take a minute to think about taking some time to volunteer. Think about what you would like to do and create your own definition for volunteerism. After all, you are freely giving your time to someone or something larger than yourself.
Being a volunteer also means that even the smallest gestures is making a difference.” – Geri Kreway
It is outstanding for the Town of Ituna to have five of the ten recipients of the 2016 Governor General Sovereign Medal for Volunteers throughout Canada living and volunteering in our community.
And “THANK YOU” to Ituna and Area for showing your Community Pride each and every day!
...Communities in Bloom was awarded 3 grants: a $500 grant used to plant new shrubs at the entrance to the Regional Park... further information . In addition, CN EcoConnexions and Agrium have awarded grants totalling $35,000 for the Avena Garden Project (Avena is the botanical name for oats) and the Ituna Community Fruit Orchard Project....further information
Communities in Bloom is a provincial and national program recognizing community beautification, heritage, and environmental awareness, green spaces, diversity, originality of landscaping, general tidiness and community involvement in the project.
As a community we are all aware of water conservation methods and efficient water use, so that we can help ensure that there will always be enough to support our community while ensuring a healthy, sustainable environment.
Here are the Top 10 Water Conservation Tips that YOU can do:
1. Take shorter showers.
2. Replace older high flush toilets with one that uses 6 litres or less.
3. Replace your showerhead with a model that is more water-efficient.
4. Turn off taps while brushing your teeth, shaving, etc.
5. Install faucet aerators
6. Clean your driveway with a broom instead of a hose.
7. Fix leaks and dripping taps.
8. Wash your car with a bucket, not a running hose.
9. Run the dishwasher or washing machine only when they are full.
10. Water your lawn, not your sidewalks and driveway.
COMPOSTING IS BENEFICIAL – HELP SAVE OUR LANDFILL
Compost is an organic material that is made by mixing kitchen and garden waste to create a nutrient rich soil additive and mulch. Compost is easy to make and when added to your soil, it promotes healthy plant growth, improves water retention and provides nutrients for the plants.
Benefits of Composting:
• Adding compost to soil increases water retention, improves soil quality and prevents erosion.
• Up to 40% Municipal Solid Waste can be diverted from landfills.
• Compost can be used as mulch on lawns, in gardens, and as a potting mix.
• Compost acts as a natural pesticide and fertilizer reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and pest management.
It’s a fun project for the whole family.