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Monday 3 September 2012

Finishing up Tidy Towns

I've got a pot of turkey soup on the stove and that should give me a few minutes to hammer out a final chapter in the Tidy Towns Chronicles for 2012. When I last checked in there were three towns left to visit, and of course Sheila and I have since had the immense pleasure of getting a guided tour of each of them. Up first: Bell Island. 

Well kind of Bell Island. Technically it's the town of Wabana. Bell Island is actually made up of the Town of Wabana and a smaller community called Lance Cove, and since Tidy Towns is for municipalities only, Lance Cove was not part of our judging. But, it is part of the judging to recognize how communities partner on community based issues and on that front Wabana and Lance Cove deserve a special shout out. While the Town has some unique challenges in the realm of the North East Avalon boom, it is making significant strides with the resources and residents available. The community groups and the role that they play in enriching the lives of those who live all over Bell Island is evident and noteworthy. Had a great day and would recommend the visit to anyone!

Up next was Carbonear. I'm not sure why but to be honest I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this visit. I think it may have been because I have been to Carbomear before, but just in passing, and couldn't recall any details about the place. Boy was I in for a shock. Both Sheila and I were very impressed with our day in Carbonear. After we finally found the Town Hall we were given a tour of a town that has a very good understanding of how to tie tourism with cultural preservation. There is a great deal of history worth preserving in every community in NL, but few have a grasp of it the way Carbonear does. I remember being impressed with Trout River last year for their work in historical preservation, partly because it was still interwoven in their current way of life. In Carbonear I saw a Town moving forward and evolving to meet modern challenges while still understanding and showing great appreciation for where they came from and why they were there. In addition it just happen that the Town seasonally hires a local horticultural expert to help them plan and maintain their flowers and green spaces, and he was a face I had met many years ago when I was living in Wabush! I  learned a great deal about the town and look forward to going back again.

The Last stop on the Tidy Towns tour was the Town of Bay Roberts. This was another case of me being surprised by a place that I thought I knew. However if there's one thing I've learned as a Tidy Towns Judge is that you never really see a community until you've been given a guided tour by those who live there and care for it every day. While there were many noteworthy stops along our tour of the Town, like where the connection with the "Klondike" comes from,  one of my favorite stops was at the Town Museum. It is housed upstairs in the same building as the Town Hall in very historical built as a undersea cable terminal that played a vital role in communications for all of North America. While I have seen a great many community museums this one was impressive not just because of the number of artifacts or the fantastic layout, or the relationship to Christopher Pratt, but what impressed me was the professional manner in which the artifacts were treated, preserved and presented. Many museums contain fantastic displays but they are not properly maintained with regard to temperature and humidity, and unfortunately those can be devastating to fragile historical relics. Bay Roberts has invested the time and money to do it right, and I was impressed.

Well the trips are over and scoring is nearly finished so I guess I'll go check on my soup and Sheila and I will sit down over a cup of tea and tally the results. At the MNL convention in the Fall someone will be standing at the podium and announce that the Tidy Towns winners for the category of 2500 to 5500 for 2012 is..... Well I guess you'll just have to stay tuned if you really want to know! 


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