CONCHE, NL – Residents of Conche have always taken pride in their town’s appearance.
Now they’re receiving recognition from Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) for the work they do to keep their town as clean as possible.
Earlier this month, the Great Northern Peninsula town was named one of the 10 Tidy Towns winners for 2017 thanks to its photo submission showing an iceberg in the town’s harbour.
This year, MNL conducted the Tidy Towns competition a little bit differently as it reboots the program. For the first and last time, a community photo challenge determined the Tidy Towns winners.
Per MNL, all photos were submitted by communities via social media and included the hashtag #mytidytown. The municipality the picture represented qualified to win, and not the photographer.
Ten photos were selected, and each winning municipality received $1,000.
The winners were announced on Nov. 3.
Current mayor Charlene McGrath entered a photo of the town into the competition this summer, as then-deputy mayor.
McGrath says Conche residents keep the community clean with the help of programs like Canadian Summer Jobs or Job Creation Partnerships.
Through these programs, students and other workers pick up garbage around town, keep beaches clean, make sure grass is cut around boardwalks, keep boardwalks and buildings painted, and make sure steps are in good condition.
The local harbour authority, for instance, had a student worker last summer whose job it was to keep the wharf areas clean.
“A lot of the summer projects, and JCPs, are mostly about maintaining community beautification,” said McGrath. “Everything is about promoting keeping the town tidy.”
Furthermore, residents take it upon themselves to contribute. Lawns are kept mowed, flowers are planted around town, and properties are kept tidy.
“People really make an effort to keep their properties clean,” she said. “Everyone in the community takes pride in their homes and their property and the town in general.”
According to McGrath, one reason this has been so important to the town is the high number of tourists residents see in the summer.
They want to maintain a positive image for visitors.
“We want to keep the community looking nice and attractive,” she said. “We consider ourselves the beauty spot of the north, so we try to do our best.”