Mr. Speaker, each week during this sitting, I’m going to use one of my member’s statements to highlight one of Hay River’s many non-profit organizations. With only five weeks left, I’ll barely make a dent, but it’s worth starting to recognize those who make differences in our community.

Mr. Speaker, whenever anyone visits Hay River – especially in the summer – they always comment on how beautiful it is. Of course, much of that is thanks to the natural landscape, but a debt of gratitude is also owed to the Hay River Beautification Committee.

As the name implies, the Beautification Committee leads and promotes several initiatives to beautify public and private spaces around Hay River. If you happen to be walking or driving around town and you see some flowers, or some art, that make you think, “oh, that’s nice”, there’s a good chance that the Beautification Committee had a hand in it one way or another. The all-volunteer committee, with the help of residents, is responsible for the schools of decorative fish found on fences throughout town, the pots of flowers surrounding the mail boxes, the wooden boats that are used as planters and teem with plants and flowers in the summer, the benches that line the walking trail along the river, and much more.

Perhaps what the Committee is most known for, is its annual “Yards in Bloom” competition, which encourages individuals and organizations to showcase their gardening skills. This encouragement has really paid off, and the effort that people put into their yards and gardens around Hay River, even if they’re not competing, is remarkable. Last year, there were 156 official entrants into the competition. Awards are given for the best yards in each of the six areas of town in the categories of either amateur or master gardener. There is also the Blooming with No Space award, the People’s Choice Award, and of course the Darm Crook Overall Winner.

In addition to aesthetic improvements to the community, the Beautification Committee also collaborates with other organizations to help the environment. For example, the Committee teamed up with Ecology North to encourage the planting of flowers that support bees, and to promote the important role bees play in our ecosystem.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I want to encourage the Committee to keep up the good work, and thank them for making the world a more beautiful place.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.