The Communities in Bloom judges got a comprehensive guided tour of Cache Creek at the hands of knowledgeable locals. (froml) Lisa Dafoe

CiB judges saw everything from gardens to golf course in Cache Creek

The Communities in Bloom judges had a comprehensive tour of the village and its surroundings, aided by knowledgeable locals.

The Communities in Bloom (CiB) judges who were in Cache Creek last week got a break from the heat they had been promised, as a gentle rain came and went over the course of their day of judging on July 19.

However, members of the Cache Creek CiB committee, as well as a few special guests, made sure that Theresa Williams (from Hope) and Catherine Kennedy (Cloverdale) saw all there was to see in and around the town.

Judges Theresa Williams (l) and Catherine Kennedy enjoyed hanging out at the park. Photo by Wendy Coomber.

Their visit started with a welcome barbecue at the Semlin Valley golf course clubhouse. Next morning CiB members Susan Burdeyney, Patty McKenzie, and Wendy Coomber took the judges on a tour of some local gardens, where they were shown a variety of landscaping techniques and some novel decorating and gardening ideas.

Gold Country Communities Society manager Terri Hadwin was on hand to give a geocaching demonstration, and give the judges copies of the society’s geocaching books. Coomber then provided some background on two local geologic features: the Cache Creek mélange and the McAbee Fossil Beds.

Rob Hillman conducted a tour of the landfill, which impressed both judges; Williams said that the tour had changed her impression of the landfill. Councillor Lisa Dafoe and CiB chair Carmen Ranta then guided the judges through the park, pointing out the new extension, areas that had been damaged in the flood of May 2015, recent renovations to the playground area, and more.

Allen Midgley, president of the Bonaparte Watershed Stewardship Society, showed off the new river viewing platform and talked about the health of the Bonaparte River and its salmon stocks. Mayor John Ranta led the judges round the community hall and visitor centre before a quick tour of the fire department and an opportunity to walk around Gateway Park and pose with Cariboo Sam.

(from l) Carmen Ranta, Al Midgley, Catherine Kennedy, Theresa Williams, Lisa Dafoe, and Patty McKenzie near the river viewing platform. Photo by Wendy Coomber.

The tour ended with another trip to Semlin Valley golf course, where golf carts took everyone on a tour of the course. It was led by golf club president Brian Henderson, who pointed out special features and his own favourite areas.

Cache Creek is competing in the provincial CiB category, and both judges were impressed with what they saw and heard. “I used to stop at the Dairy Queen here,” says Williams, “and I love it that now I can stop and see everything.” She has recently retired as a teacher, and laughs when she says “Now I can devote all my time to Communities in Bloom!” She has been active in CiB in her home community for many years, and said becoming a judge “seemed like a natural fit.”

During her 45 years as teacher she made sure to impress on her students the importance of gardening. “We need to raise youth so they are aware of the importance of environmental care.”

Kennedy has a background in landscape design, and is the CiB’s provincial executive director. She has been training CiB judges for 11 years, and says she tries to get different people into communities each year. She also tries for balance in the judging teams, pairing people whose background and expertise gives them different insights.

She is quick to dispel the notion that CiB is all about the flowers. “It’s not about hanging baskets. We’re not a flower contest. It’s all about blooming communities, and encouraging pride in one’s home town.”

She says that while Cache Creek’s semi-desert setting presents a challenge, it also creates an opportunity for the community to show what it does have. “It’s very exciting, coming from the coast, to see the hidden things people want to show us. There’s nothing like seeing from the residents’ perspective what they’re proud of.”

Williams says this pride clearly shows throughout Cache Creek. “I’m proud of my home town; and I know that people here are proud of theirs.”

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