The Town of Bentley has collaborated with local, Central Alberta-based companies to create a welcoming garden at the Town’s highway signage.
The Town worked with Wolf’s Botanical, out of Lacombe, to design and create the garden which surrounds the way-finding sign which was created by Wallah Signs out of Red Deer.
The creation of the new garden was aided by a $1,500 donation from ATCO and a $2,500 grant from Fortis Alberta.
The Fortis grant specifically was for planting trees, according to Marc Fortais, CAO with the Town of Bentley.
“This was a pretty big deal for us here in Bentley… I am really happy with the collaboration we have had with local companies,” Fortais said.
The garden, which cost roughly $20,000, will help attract travellers to Bentley when they are driving down Highway 12.
Fortais says many people drive right by Bentley and are missing the “small town charm” of Bentley.
The signage and garden will help bring in tourists to the town who don’t know about Bentley, according to Fortais.
“This will help attract people who don’t know Bentley is there. When they are travelling down the highway they won’t know that charm is there just past the industrial area right off of the road,” Fortais said.
The garden is designed with a number of trees and shrubs, which will grow and fill out the space over the years without covering the sign.
In the spring, the Town may plant some annual flowers to add colour, but other than that, the main maintenance for the garden is watering.
The plan was originally to have the new garden planted and unveiled earlier in the year, but the pandemic and availability of Wolf Botanical pushed it back a bit.
However, planting later in the year won’t affect the longevity of the plants.
“Right now is actually a really good time to plant… [Wolf Botanical] has assured me there is no concern with the health of the plants moving forward,” Fortais said.
“In the spring, the ice melting will actually help give them a head start in the growing season.”
Fotais believes Bentley is poised for further growth in the future, especially now that it is easier than ever to live in smaller communities and work in urban centres.