Several Columbia Valley elected officials recently attended the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Government Association (AKBLG) annual convention and AGM in Rossland. The theme was “Becoming smarter, leaner Communities” and the focus was on innovation and technology. We got off to a great start with a tour of the MIDAS Fab Lab where we were exposed to some amazing technology at work including a demonstration of 3D printing and the practical applications. Other topics over the three days included; use of drones, building Competitive Clusters (example is Metal Tech Alley in the Lower Columbia around Trail), exploring a future with 100% renewable energy, Accelerate Kootenays initiative for building of a system of EV charging stations from Okanagan to Alberta, and more.
A part of the convention is also set aside for debate of resolutions which have been submitted by communities with the hope of having them sent forward for further debate at UBCM meeting in the fall. It is always interesting to learn about issues which arise in other jurisdictions and are important to the people who live there. Requests for support with funding training for small fire departments in order to meet the standards set out by the Province have broad support.
Another resolution requested that the Province complete a comprehensive review of asphalt and concrete pricing in B.C. to ensure that competitive pricing exists equitably throughout the province. This generated a lot of discussion before being defeated.
In order to ensure the resolutions which are most important get priority attention at the provincial level, AKBLG has implemented a model where the delegates vote to rank the resolutions which were passed. The results were interesting with the top five being: Interface Wildfire Risk and Prevention responsibility, Support for rural Fire Departments, access to Used Oil Recycling Facilities in rural BC, tax on Vacant and Derelict Homes in BC, and Multi Material BC cash transfers.
An added bonus to these conventions is the opportunity for communities to showcase themselves – the City of Rossland did a great job of hosting almost 200 delegates, partners and sponsors for three days. This can only happen with a group of dedicated staff and volunteers. Congratulations to their team.
Clara Reinhardt is the mayor of the Village of Radium Hot Springs and a Regional District of East Kootenay director for the Columbia Valley.