By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
WELLAND – Showcase flower beds once again will highlight the work of the City of Welland’s own gardeners after the annual project was placed in jeopardy due to the pandemic.
“We almost did not do them for 2020, Covid-19 and all,” Peter Boyce, the parks department’s manager of planning and maintenance, wrote in an email. “Yes, our other work is way behind but these beds are so important to our community, in my opinion anyway.”
The four beds, and this year’s themes are:
Prince Charles Drive (near the fire station): Welland Knights of Columbus, 100th anniversary;
Prince Charles Drive (corner of First Avenue): Sacré-Coeur parish, 100th anniversary;
Niagara Street at Riverbank: Welland BIC Church (formerly Brethren-in-Christ), 100th anniversary;
Broadway (near the Croatian National Home); Welland Rotary, 100th anniversary.
This year, taking on the work was a challenge because the department found itself short staffed due to pandemic-related layoffs affecting city workers, said Boyce.
But, the floral beds are highly regarded as “part of the fabric of our community” and the project was given approval by city staff, although some smaller beds are not being done.
“We will pick them back up in 2021,” according to Boyce.
Parks staff received a long list of requests from local groups and organizations wanting to be chosen for a showcase bed. Boyce said a council-approved policy is followed to help with final selection.
Over the years, Welland’s traditionally-outstanding showcase beds have received many compliments from local residents and visitors to the community, some of whom have praised them in letters to the editor of the local newspaper.