CORNER BROOK — The Tidy Towns judges came to Corner Brook on Wednesday and were impressed by some of the things they saw.
Aubrey Smith and his wife Jacinta of Grand Falls-Windsor spent a large portion of the day in the city taking lots of notes and pictures that will go into their report for the provincial Tidy Towns Competition.
The program is offered to municipalities in the province through Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador's environment committee.
The Western Star caught up with them on the Glynmill Inn Pond portion of the Corner Brook Stream Trail. As we walked up into Margaret Bowater Park, Aubrey remarked on the trail network and the park.
"I like this," he said. "Generally, all quiet areas like this I think is necessary for citizens."
Aubrey said it's things like the trail and park that people will come to appreciate more as they get older.
"Because we're not all living in big homes and isolation. So, all of our citizens need some quiet time and this is the opportunity. We need this for the people," Aubrey said.
Wednesday's visit to the city was Aubrey's third as a Tidy Town judge. His first was in 2002, and his co-judge at the time was a city planner with the City of St. John's. He laughs when saying that back then all they looked at was cribbage in brooks and definition of streets.
In the eight or nine years since, his co-judge has been Jacinta.
The process of visiting communities and writing reports can be pretty time consuming, said Jacinta.
With that Aubrey gives her a sly look and then we learn he compiles the reports. But he said they are a team and he relies on Jacinta's good penmanship to take the notes.
"You've got to do the focus and you've got to get some detail in there," he said of the reports. "And you've got to be positive. You know your job is to encourage, it's not so much to evaluate and zing 'em, hey."
As judges, the Smiths evaluate the overall contributions of the municipal council and departments, industry, businesses and the private sector — including volunteer efforts — in a community.
The evaluation grid used is based on eight criteria:
— Environmental awareness
— Community involvement
— Natural & cultural heritage conservation
— Tree/urban forest management
— Landscaped areas
— Floral displays
— Turf and groundcovers
Aubrey said the aspects looked for are "pretty comprehensive."
As a former Grand Falls-Windsor town councillor he's interested in the environmental aspect.
"I'm interested in the sewage treatment and the water treatment and efficiency in your buildings," he said.
One thing he made mention of in this area is that the city still doesn't have a sewage treatment facility.
"That's important in this day and age," he said.
"When you're talking about the health of people, and stuff like that and the environment, that's something you really need to focus on."
Something that impressed him was the new Corner Brook City Hall. He called the facility "amazing."
He said the energy conservation measures and the garden roof are all types of things that are needed.
While in the city, the Smiths also toured Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland, had a look around University Drive and the Pepsi Centre and toured a private garden.