Tidy Towns is a program offered to municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador through the MNL Environment Committee. This program is committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community participation and the challenge of a provincial competition.
Each year Tidy Towns sends out teams of skilled judges who travel to all reaches of Newfoundland and Labrador and visit enthusiastic communities that have registered in the program. The judges base their evaluation on eight criteria: Tidiness Effort, Environmental Effort, Community Involvement, Heritage Preservation, Urban Forestry, Landscaped Areas, Floral Arrangements, Turf and Groundcover Areas. The judges, in addition to making their competitive evaluation, compile a detailed report on each community indicating their strengths and weaknesses and make suggestions on where to improve and what programs to implement. Communities are the grassroots of this organization!
When a community participates in the Tidy Towns program they get more than just local, national and potentially international recognition. Tidy Towns is intended to be the kind of competition that any community can compete in. Involving the whole community in the effort will be considered the most important feature. Every community in the province has natural scenery and unique heritage that would be the envy of most communities anywhere else in the world.
Although winning is great, the Tidy Towns competition is about more than just the chance of winning. No matter how well a community does, the benefits of entering the competition are far-reaching and diverse. By promoting clean, ecologically sound, heritage-aware communities, Tidy Towns increases tourism from both within and outside the province. The activities that communities embrace to prepare for Tidy Towns (for example restoring heritage sites and gardening) encourage the economy through the sale of construction products, plants and signs. Tidy Towns promotes the beautification and maintenance of public and private open spaces.
The competition encourages physical activity through cleanups, gardening as well as board walk and trail creation. These activities provide mental and physical benefits to participants. Communities in the competition feel the benefits of having pulled together and engaged their best. We encourage composting, recycling, the avoidance of the use of pesticides and a ‘no waste' mentality. Judges during their visit can act as informal consultants on a variety of topics and communities can use them as resources to help with their planning efforts. Tidy Towns recognizes the importance of preserving and restoring artifacts and builds heritage within the province.