February 15, 2011
By Arthur Skolnik

arthur skolnikLandscape Ontario, at least the working bones of our trade organization, is comprised of 10 sector, or commodity groups: Contractors, Designers, Garden Centres, Grounds Management, Growers, Interior Plantscapes, Irrigation, Lawn Care, Lighting and Snow and Ice. Our mission is to raise awareness of the environmental, economic, and lifestyle benefits of gardens and green spaces. Our ultimate goal is to landscape Ontario.

This is the first of a few updates over the year for the Contractors Sector Group.

We are a group of approximately 10 volunteers (business owners, senior employees and several LO staff members). We meet four or five times a year at the LO home office in Milton, and during Congress at the Doubletree Hotel.

Our sector group discusses a wide range of topics, with an eventual determination of their direction and outcome of each project. For example, we are involved with Canada Blooms (feature garden selection, judging), Toronto Chapter Lecture Series, city permits, human resource issues, business development, mediation services, consumer protection, and more.

The sector group meetings last from one-and-a-half to two hours, and lunch is usually provided. We hope to include contractors from other sector group boards in our meetings, to contribute to our discussions and report back to their respective groups.

There are times when research or further discussions are necessary, as some issues are just too complex to resolve with the time constraints of one meeting. As a side benefit this results in a sense of continuity from one meeting to the next.

Anyone who would like to join our group, we ask for a commitment that includes attending three meetings per year. I personally don’t know all the contractors, but I do know all contractors have opinions that are born out of experience. With so many contractors in LO, there is a great deal of experience in our association. If you have comments, criticisms, opinions, helpful hints, or suggestions related to our industry, or ideas on how to improve our effectiveness as contractors, drop me a line.

If you‘re really gripped by the urge to contribute, the Contractors Board is looking for a few good people, contractors or top employees with experience, who are willing to participate in our group.

One last thought: I’m excited about the Green for Life promotional material. The goal of this advertising campaign is to inspire our customers with the beauty and benefits of horticulture, and to connect them with Landscape Ontario members. This promotional material is available in many forms. Check out www.horttrades.com/GFL for more details.

I began landscaping in Montreal in1982, and in 1988 my wife Barbara and I moved to Toronto. I joined LO in the mid-90s, and I have sat on the Contractors Sector Group board for nearly six years. I am the co-owner of Shibui Landscaping.

To contact me, email shibui@rogers.com.