Five blooms awarded to Parrsboro

Andrew Wagstaff
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Communities in Bloom results announced at TIANS conference

PARRSBORO – Sometimes hard work pays off.
Parrsboro’s Communities in Bloom volunteers got the news they were hoping for this week, when they were awarded the five-bloom ranking from the program at the provincial level. Committee member Dr. David Howe accepted the award at the annual Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) conference in Halifax.

Dr. David Howe and Dawn McCully were thrilled this week to learn Parrsboro had earned five blooms at the provincial level in the Communities in Bloom program. Howe accepted the award at the annual Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) conference in Halifax on Nov. 26.

“I would have been very happy with four, but five is outstanding,” said Dawn McCully, who led the planning committee with Howe.

Both were quick to credit not just themselves or the committee, but the entire community for coming together to make this happen.

“It was the committee that helped organize, but the community together did this,” she said. “So many people just did things on their own time, when they weren’t even asked to do anything. Some people would be deadheading flowers and picking up garbage before most people even got out of bed.”

Carolyn Henwood, for example, took it upon herself to focus on Main Street’s Gavin Park, and continues to do so. The small property is now a highlight of the street, decorated for the Christmas season.

The spirit behind sprucing up the town seemed to spread beyond Communities in Bloom, according to Howe.

“It did bring people together for a common purpose,” he said. “And the town looked nice.”

The judges’ evaluation gave special mention to the iron sculptures of Doris Soley placed throughout the town, but also commended the town for its community spirit. The judges visited Parrsboro in August.

Despite the high marks, the evaluation also pointed out areas that could be improved upon, such as bylaws regarding forest conservation, according to McCully.

“We didn’t do so well in that area, so that’s something the town could work on over the winter to update,” she said. “They also made mention again of both entrances coming into town.”

Although not inside town limits but rather in the Municipality of Cumberland County, the approaches to Parrsboro from Cross Roads and New Prospect, and the appearance of some of the properties in those areas, has been a point of concern for some time now.

The evaluation also suggested the town needs an attractive welcome at its entrances, such as a sign with flowers or shrubbery.

Where Parrsboro goes with Communities in Bloom is a question that has yet to be decided. It could compete at the provincial level again, or, having won now at that level (defeating Elmsdale, its only competitor in the under-3,000 population category), it will likely be invited to compete nationally.

To compete nationally would require a larger budget from the sponsoring body, which was the Town of Parrsboro this year and also in 2009, when four blooms were achieved. It would also bring stiff competition.

“Even though we looked spectacular this summer, we’ll have to look over-the-top spectacular if we do it nationally,” said McCully.

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Geographic location: Parrsboro, Gavin Park, Cumberland County Cross Roads New Prospect

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