It is often said that the various communities and entities in the Columbia Valley should work together better. Mixed marketing messages, the lack of a single municipality and the existence of two Chambers of Commerce are often pointed out as examples of how ineffective or lacking this co-operation is.
Despite the assumptions and some of the above examples, behind the scenes a great number of things are jointly funded and managed, whether it be recreationally focused like the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena, or around library services, or even things related to responses and handling of emergencies and natural disasters.
There has been some work to do with opening communication and training between various valley fire departments, and hopefully more co-operation will occur on fire services.
The most recent example of collaboration has been happening quietly and consistently over the last year and half with the steering committee for the new Columbia Valley Centre.
The steering committee was set up when the Regional District of East Kootenay Columbia Valley directors agreed to provide some funding to the new facility in Invermere.
The group consists of all five District of Invermere council members, two representatives from the Regional District of East Kootenay (Director Wendy Booth, and Director Clara Reinhardt), and representatives from key user/stakeholder groups including performing arts, the youth centre, the fitness centre as well as some general community members.
The group has being meeting with the new architect for the facility for the last three months to collaboratively transform varying visions and ideas into a realistic and usable design that will be functional and affordable to build.
There have been — and will continue to be — tough decisions to be made in order to keep the new multi-use centre on budget, but by working together and trusting each other, we will produce some ideas and concepts that are worth bringing forward to the general public for feedback and input.
In early June, we are hoping that there will be an open house to review the concept design for the new facility, and we hope that this example of collaboration and working together proves to be worthwhile and
Gerry Taft is mayor of the District of Invermere and a Regional District of East Kootenay director for the Columbia Valley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.