Regional Rundown: Communicating beyond the grapevine

“If you hear it at the rink or coffee shop it must be true!”

What is communication? Wikipedia describes it as “the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behaviour. It is the meaningful exchange of information between two or more living creatures.”

In my roles as mayor, Regional District of East Kootenay director, and business owner, I have seen some simply wonderful forms of communication, and I have also been witness to some rather “interesting” forms of it. I am amazed at the “grapevine communication” that happens everywhere, especially in a small town. “If you hear it at the rink or coffee shop it must be true!”

For example, one of my staff at Palliser Printing just asked me if she should be looking for a new job as she “heard” that I was closing the doors. How untrue and how distressing to my staff!  I was proud that she took the initiative and came to the source to ask if it was true. If we all went to the source to get the facts and the correct information, then miscommunication would happen less often.

In our roles as mayors and Regional District of East Kootenay directors, we have been taught to review all sides of all issues, so we can make informed decisions. It isn’t always perfect, but it is how I, personally, have been able to stand by any decision I have made over my years in these roles. I have asked questions to make sure I understand both sides. I have been so grateful to many of my constituents who have also taken the time to call or visit with me to “get the real story.”

Radium is presently going through a revisiting of its sign bylaw. What I am enjoying about the process is seeing how so many people have come together to work for the greater good of the community and who we serve. This is how it should work! We need to realize that we are so often on the same side, and going in the same direction, but we may just get there differently. How refreshing it is when we meet face to face and come away with a clearer view of the process.

On another topic, I have chosen not to run again in the fall election as mayor of Radium Hot Springs, the village I so cherish. There is also miscommunication as to my reasons. I am blessed to have a husband who has supported me in all my endeavours over the last 10 plus years here in the Columbia Valley. Now it is my turn to spend more quality time with him and enjoy more travels (especially in the world of wine!). CasaVino and Palliser Printing will continue to be our focus, but with our tremendous staff, we hope to be able to sneak away a little more often.

I look forward to continued communication with you all!


Dee Conklin is the mayor of the Village of Radium Hot Springs and a Regional District of East Kootenay director for the Columbia Valley.