A Kamloops development received special mention during the Communities in Bloom competition awards in Edmonton over the weekend.
Sun Rivers Resort Community, a finalist in the up to 1,200 population category of the national edition of the contest, received a "5 Bloom" rating and a special mention for their partnership with the TK'emlups First Nation.
Thirteen years ago, F.M. Zumtobel and Sandrift Holdings Ltd. developed Sun Rivers Golf Resort in the suburbs of Kamloops with the help and on the land of the TK'emlups te Secwepemc.
Developers can build on reservation land and TK'emlups collects the rent on a 99-year prepaid lease.
Judges Gerry Teahen and Claire Laberge recognized that the innovative collaboration benefits both partners.
"They decide together on additional development, for example, wastewater treatment is managed by TK'emlups te Secwepemc but drinking and irrigation water is shared by both partners," stated the judge's assessment. "If archeological sites are identified during development, they are protected. All new resources are the domains of TK'emlups te Secwepemc. Both communities share cultural events."
The City of Kamloops was also up for an international award in the large population category against the likes of Killarney Town, Ireland, Leduc, Alta., Pembroke, Ont., Ville de Rosemère, Que., and South West District, Singapore.
Judges Bob Ivison of England and Alain Cappelle of Belgium, who assessed the City at the end of July during Beautify Kamloops, said the residents' pride in their greenspace was evident.
"(Gardens) are important not only because they look good but they make people feel good," said Ivison at the time. "And we've seen tonight that the feel-good factor is there."
The competition was fierce, but deputy mayor Tina Lange held out hope before attending the awards ceremony in Edmonton on Saturday night.
"I've been to Singapore and to Killarney, Ireland, they are picture postcard countries where it rains a lot," she said. "However, they likely don't have the incredible community involvement and energy that Kamloops has so I'm still optimistic that I will be accepting the award."
But it was not to be. Killarney Town, took the top international prize in the large population category and St. Martin's Parish, Guernsey, Channel Islands, British Isles won the international prize in the small population category.
"Within the actual context of climate changes and environmental concerns, communities involved in the program can be proud of their efforts, which provide real and meaningful environmental solutions and benefit all of society," said Bob Lewis, national acting chairman.
Communities in Bloom is a national organization dedicated to the promotion of green spaces in community settings.