There has been a great deal of concern among Kimberley residents about the state of Cominco Gardens this summer.
The gardens, usually full of blooms, have not looked good this summer. Some work has been done by the City Parks department in recent days, but City CAO Scott Sommerville says that this year is a transition as the operation of the gardens moves from the management of the Kimberley Community Development Society, which has been dissolved, to the City.
Sommerville says the city was slow out of the gate to find a new operator for Cominco Gardens when they learned that KCDS was ending.
“I don’t believe that the bulbs were planted last fall, and when the City resumed maintenance this spring there were no bulbs or seeds to start with,” he said.
Sommerville said that with a limited budget of $73,951 to manage the gardens, the City ended up going with a combination of local contractor Kimberley Bobcats and City Parks and Facilities staff. (up to $39,250 to Kimberley Bobcats, remaining $34,701 for City forces.)
“The contractor will focus on weekly maintenance, fall shut down and spring start up; the City will focus on planting annual flowers and maintaining the neglected infrastructure,” he said.
“The active worksite was alarming to those who were used to a flower focused-operation, or who hadn’t been to Cominco Gardens in recent years.”
Sommerville says he and Manager of Operations Chris Mummery, Manager of Parks and Facilities Nicole Halasz were meeting onsite this week to plan going forward. They will come up with recommendations to present to Council during budget sessions after the fall municipal elections.
“We understand the passion that residents and visitors have for Cominco Gardens, and appreciate the public’s patience during this transition,” he said.
Cominco Gardens were created in 1927 by the company which operated the Sullivan Mine. Cominco also operated a fertilizer plant which produced a fertilizer using ore by-products. The gardens were a way to bring attention to the effectiveness of the fertilizer. Cominco gifted the five-hectare gardens to the city of Kimberley in 1987. They were operated by KCDS until the fall of 2021.