Castlegar’s city councillors and other dignitaries from throughout the Kootenays descended upon Trail last weekend for the annual AKBLG (Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments) convention and annual general meeting.
The convention featured many speakers including former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt, who spoke about building sustainable, resilient communities. The theme for the weekend was Live, Work and Play.
“There was some great speakers there,” said Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff. “Mike Harcourt was there and talked about a lot of interesting things.”
There was also several initiatives brought forward at the AGM.
“When you look at the resolutions, things that are brought forward that other communities need to learn about,” said Chernoff, “you need to understand it’s a first step. When you have the ability to agree to a resolution it then goes to the UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities). It gives you a little power in what you want to do.”
One important issue that did not receive approval was the border issue whereby the value of duty free goods purchased in the U.S. has increased.
“It never got there, because it was late,” said Chernoff. “We’ll still take it there to the UBCM. It also gives you the chance to talk about things that we don’t normally communicate about. It brings everyone together. The border crossing issue is huge for communities near the border. Those are some of the things we got to talk about. The AKBLG is a great way to learn about what people are doing in other communities.”
For first term councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff, it was interesting and informative weekend.
“It was great,” she said. “I had been their before as a displayer (with B.C. Hydro), so it was very interesting being a delegate this year and having the power to vote on resolutions. To me it was a good learning experience.”
Heaton-Sherstobitoff also enjoyed meeting other councillors from throughout the Kootenay region and talking with them about their experiences.
“The key that I take away is – it was a good opportunity to meet other mayors and councillors from the Kootenays and the boundary country and talk to them about what is happening in their communities.”
Of all the proposals put forth at the AGM, Heaton-Sherstobitoff said one of the key ones for her was the rural transportation strategy.
“It’s where you don’t just take B.C. Transit into consideration, but you take taxis and private services as well,” she said. “Because we are rural, there are vast geographical areas we have to travel and not everybody has some sort of transportation they can access. So that passed and will now go to UBCM. Hopefully, there will be something out of that. I think that’s something that would benefit everyone in our community.”