Fort St. John earns 5 Bloom rating, special mention for North Peace Museum

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Fort St. John also received a special mention for the North Peace Museum. Judges Maurice Baren and Berta Briggs visited the Energetic City in July. In their evaluation, they commented on how well the city's "unique" history is collected, preserved and presented at the museum.

"The North Peace Historical Society has maintained its energy and passion for years in building this museum from a collection of artifacts to now preserving a number of historic structures, having first class archival storage, warehousing for their huge collection of locally significant artifacts, plus programming to engage and interest thousands of visitors," they wrote. "It also presents itself very professionally without losing the personality and energy of the generations of volunteers who have made this great museum possible."

NEAT's Karen Mason-Bennett has had a chance to look over the judge's report, and says the judges also took note of the different ways the city collaborates to improve itself.

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"I think typically they're pleasantly impressed with a community that is not only our size, but in the geographic location that we're in," she says, "and some of the interesting partnerships that we've been able to kind of foster throughout the community, and that's a theme that kind of kept coming back up. We've got a lot of community groups working together to really make Fort St. John what it is."

Some of those partnerships they mentioned include the Walk the Solar System along the walking trails, which was an effort between the City and School District 60 and other sponsors, as well as the LED light exchange and the clothesline giveaway. It was also mentioned that the graffiti problem in the city has been improved, but also that Fort St. John could use an arborist, a position Mason-Bennett says the City has had trouble filling.

Fort St. John has competed in the Communities in Bloom program since 2000, with the exception of 2008 when it participated without evaluation. However, the City is considering competing only once every two years, to cut down on the cost. Each year, the City allocates approximately $77,700 to Communities in Bloom activities, including planting flower baskets and upkeeping green spaces. Much of the cost is for overtime for workers during the days leading up to judging.

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