Cominco Gardens on the chopping block?

Council receives letter in support of the value of the Gardens

Cominco Gardens were established in 1927.

Cominco Gardens were established in 1927.

One of the frequent phrases you will hear from Mayor and Council as they try to come to terms with an ever tighter budget is that “there are no sacred cows”.

That phrase was heard again on Monday evening as Council discussed a letter of passionate support for Cominco Gardens, written by a Gardens employee.

“I have worked at the Gardens for over 20 years and see first hand the continued values that the Gardens generate and give back not only to the community but travellers who visit Kimberley from all over the world.

“One look through the registration logbook at the end of a season will reveal a wide myriad of thankful comments that this unique gem of the Kootenay’s is still in operation and still looks amazing despite a continuing downward spiral in funding, staffing and volunteerism. Great testimony to the current employees absolute love of their jobs and the Gardens itself, we are the heart and soul of the operation who care and give more than anyone to ensure community pride is upheld to a high standard. The value of the gardens to the City of Kimberley is at one look obvious but also taken for granted. Remembering your past and what got you to where you are now is intrinsic to any community and forgetting to recognize this is a mistake made all too often by all levels of government. Cominco may be all but gone from the city but the legacy it left behind needs to be remembered and appreciated not only by past generations but future ones as well. The Gardens strive to not only remember but memorialize the people that built the community from within and uphold the integrity of a proud city.

Our Memorial Rose program, Heritage Perennial Beds and numerous other designated areas remember those that came before us, gave to the community and gardens and contributed to the fabric of the place they lived and loved.

Throughout the course of a season the Gardens are a great convalescence tool for the many seniors who wander the grounds or are brought over in wheelchairs by the staff at The Pines or Gardenview and the senior facilities in Cranbrook. Appreciation is bestowed upon our staff every time we see them that the Gardens are a wonderful uplifting facility to visit with so much vivid color, wonderful smells, wildlife (deer, squirrel, birds, resident cat, etc) and an ever helpful friendly staff.”

“I appreciate the letter,” said Coun. Darryl Oakley. “But in budget deliberations, every penny and dime counts. Are Cominco Gardens part of the fabric of our community? Of course. But there is also the reality of unsustainable infrastructure renewal. I too, love Cominco Gardens, and other things, but there are no sacred cows.”

Coun. Kent Goodwin commented that tourists are often amazed that a town the size of Kimberley could have a garden like that.

Coun. Bev Middlebrook said that the letter helped her gain a better appreciation of Cominco Gardens and their value, especially to seniors.

“Part of our job is to look for opportunities as we go through the budget deliberations,” said Mayor Don McCormick. “We are not going to surprise anyone. Everything will be discussed in an open manner.”