CFB Petawawa unveils a garden 0
sean chase firstname.lastname@example.org Unveiling the CFB Petawawa Wellness Garden Wednesday were (left to right) Capt. Adam Schori, Lorraine Shirley, Communities-in-Bloom judges Dave Hilton and Frank Merren, base commander Lt.-Col. Chris Moyle, base chief warrant officer Daniel Benoit, Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet, Kelly Russell and Capt. Kevin Lamorie.
CFB PETAWAWA – The base unveiled its new Wellness Garden Wednesday, trumpeting the facility as a peaceful yet functional spot for injured soldiers on their way back to the work force.
The garden, located outside the Integrated Personnel Support Centre (IPSC), was showcased as part of the base’s ‘Sustainable Communities’ submission for 2012.
Petawawa is one of eight bases across Canada in the Canadian Forces Sustainable Communities Competition, which is a special division of the National Communities in Bloom Competition.
As it won in 2009 and 2011, the base is ineligible to take the title this year but will receive a grading. Last year, it earned a four-bloom rating.
Some elements of the judging have also been tailored to fit Canadian Forces bases, but for the most part, the criteria remains the same.
The competition focuses on overall cleanliness, environmental considerations and sustainability, ground cover, community involvement and initiatives, heritage preservation efforts and landscaping.
Roads and ground team leader and Communities in Bloom chairwoman Kelly Russell worked with the base’s physiotherapist, Capt. Adam Schori, and his staff to create a wheelchair testing and agility facility. This garden will ensure all of the tests needed to ensure mobility in a wheelchair can be completed in one central location.
The garden also has agility stations that can be utilized at any time day or night, creating a multi-purpose outdoor space.
The garden was constructed and planted using $8,000 which is given to the base each year for its Communities in Bloom efforts by the Canadian Forces Director General of Environment. Ms. Russell said she got the idea for the concept from a soldier injured in Afghanistan who was working for her. He told her there was no place they could go other than a doctor’s office or a physio-therapy room during their rehabilitation.
“It would be nice if they could have an outside facility that they could used as part of their therapy,” she said, adding originally she approached the base hospital as a site before going to the personnel support centre.
The official opening of the garden coincided with the two-day visit by Communities in Bloom judges Dave Hilton, of Kamloops, B.C. and Frank Merran, from Toronto, to the base. Noting that the area has been hit by a harsh drought, the judges indicated they look into what circumstances people can control and their efforts to mitigate the effects of the weather.
Mr. Hilton said he was impressed to see the Wellness Garden, which he saw under construction last year, finally come to fruition. Mr. Merran noted there is a strong relationship between the base and the town when it comes to beautification.
“The thing that’s very striking are all the partnerships and how they are connected to everything,” he said.
The other bases under consideration are Halifax, Kingston, Ontario, Shilo, Manitoba, Comox, B.C., Cold Lake, Alberta, and Suffield, Alberta. Three more bases could be in contention next year, the judges added.
Base commander Lt.-Col. Chris Moyle explained that the garden enhances the Integrated Personnel Support Centre which helps ill and injured soldiers transitioning out of the military or back to duty.
“You can just see the serenity of the Wellness Garden,” he said. “For a place for families to sit and for soldiers to sit and talk and be interviewed, it has a tremendous value.”
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist