The City of Nelson has recognized the Nelson Izu-Shi Friendship Society with a sustainability leadership award for their work improving Cottonwood Falls park.
President John Armstrong notes the award’s criteria includes contributing to the city’s cultural strength and creating safe, welcoming neighbourhoods.
“It’s really the work we’ve done in the garden over the last several years but particularly recently,” he says. “Generally improving Cottonwood Falls Park to make it more welcoming, attractive, safer and more comfortable.”
Armstrong says they have worked on the west side of the park to create a new garden, pathways, and viewpoints for the creek and falls. A friendship gate was installed in 2016. Some artifacts associated with the Cottonwood Falls power plant were also moved there about a year ago from the old Nelson museum on Anderson Street.
Armstrong adds there have been many new plantings and volunteers come very week to weed.
“We were all amazed how many weeds there were and how many people came out regularly,” he says. “It’s built community. People say the garden is more beautiful this year than it’s ever been. It certainly is more beautiful than it has been in recent years, due to the work of the volunteers.”
The society also puts on cultural events and arranges exchanges with Izu-Shi, which has been Nelson’s Japanese sister city since 1987. However, COVID has temporarily halted those things.
While the award comes with a cheque for $1,150, Armstrong says the recognition is even more important to them.
“The recognition of what we and so many volunteers have been doing means a lot to us,” he says. “I know lots of people really enjoy and appreciate [the garden].”