Sooke is not participating in this year’s Communities in Bloom program. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke is not participating in this year’s Communities in Bloom program. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke pulls out of Communities in Bloom provincial competition

‘It’s a year to take a pause for applause,’ mayor says; Sooke has won six of the last nine years

The District of Sooke will not compete in this year’s Communities in Bloom (CIB) competition.

Despite the program’s success in Sooke – the town has won the competition’s top provincial honour six times in the last nine years – CIB puts a strain on district resources.

“Retaining this five-bloom status requires a significant amount of staff time from administration, corporate services, communications, and parks and environmental services to plan and host the event,” a staff report to district council stated. “In 2019, we worked with a consultant to develop the profile books and albums, but that process also required staff input to advise of the local government contributions to each of the CIB categories.”

RELATED: Sooke will bud but not bloom in provincial competition

Sooke council pulled back on its commitment to CIB last year when it registered in the non-competitive Friends category.

Mayor Maja Tait said while CIB is a valuable program for the municipality, it is unfair to put additional pressure on staff with two major facilities –the SEAPARC multi-sport box and Pond’s Park dog park – opening this year, as well as ongoing challenges related to the COVID pandemic.

“It’s a year to pause for applause and acknowledge the work that has taken place,” she said.

Staff gave council three options to consider for this year’s competition: identify a community organization willing to assume the duties related to CIB and support it with a grant; direct staff to allocate time to host the event, or not to participate.

Several councillors favoured launching a committee for next year’s program. The deadline for the 2022 program registration is March 13, with judging taking place in mid-July.

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