The incredible accomplishments of provincial Communities in Bloom participants have reinforced how parks and recreation services are truly essential to the overall wellbeing of our Saskatchewan communities and their residents.
Coordinated both provincially and nationally, Communities in Bloom recognizes the essential contributions that parks and recreation make in our communities. Focused on community participation in the areas of Tidiness, Environmental Action, Heritage Conservation, Urban Forestry, Landscape and Floral Displays, the program reinforces the importance of these community aspects through an optional evaluation by volunteer judges.
What would your community be if it wasn’t for community involvement from residents? Would your downtown be a thriving business centre and inviting outdoor space if your residents didn’t support it? Communities in Bloom helps engrain this importance of ‘community’ for generations!
“Over the 10 years that Indian Head has been participating in Communities In Bloom, a remarkable thing has happened! Increased community pride, community involvement, and care of both public and private spaces has made our community shine. Decreased vandalism, a greater awareness of environmental issues, and reclamation of historical sites have been a few of the positive aspects of this program. We are thrilled with the results this program has given us!”
- Gwen Johner, Indian Head Town Councillor
“Without greenspaces, all other areas of a community would suffer. Supporting the ongoing health and development of our community parks and recreation opportunities is critical for the health of residents and local businesses. Community leaders recognize that greenspaces have been proven beneficial for people’s health. Many communities are embracing this new form of health care through expanded greenspaces, tree planting programs, community gardens and outdoor event programming. All residents benefit!
Social isolation is a big problem amongst seniors.
By having a community garden like this, it enables seniors to come out and get with other generations and youth and different partners. It keeps them very active and engaged.”
- Dr. Shanthi Johnson, University of Regina
So are Parks and Recreation opportunities essential? The Government of Canada defines essential services as "a service, facility or activity […] that is or will be, at any time, necessary for the safety or security of the public or a segment of the public." Does this mean that parks and outdoor recreational activities which are recognized for positive effects on human wellbeing are services that are ensuring the safety of the public through health benefits, social opportunities and more? The argument could easily be made that many aspects of the Parks and Recreation sector including programs such as Communities in Bloom are essential to the ongoing health and therefore safety of our communities and our residents. Are all of the great things accomplished through parks and recreation essential to our communities? What do you think?
“To me, parks are the heart and soul of our city.”
Tiffany Paulsen, Former Councillor
For more information on Communities in Bloom, contact Andrew Exelby, SPRA Consultant - Parks and Open Spaces at (306) 780-9262 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An earlier version of this article appeared in the Summer 2017 edition of DIRECTION magazine.