Good event missed by many

Letter writer disappointed by poor local turnout at Columbia Basin Trust symposium

I’m really curious as to why – considering that our City leadership dreams of Castlegar being the regional economic hub, and we think the regional hospital should be located here – nobody from our City Council, Chamber of Commerce, City staff, or health-related organizations participated in the recent Columbia Basin Trust symposium in Creston.

The central theme of this free symposium was Collaboration. Don’t our City, non-profit groups and other community leaders need to learn some tricks of that trade, at the very least, for the above goals? There was a wealth of learning, including from world-famous Paul Born who – after building one of the most successful community economic development organizations in Canada – created The Tamarack Institute which got very diverse community members and sectors to engage and collaborate towards lasting win-win solutions for everything from drastically reducing poverty in Waterloo, Ontario to improving high school graduation, to restoring ecosystems.

Another gem of a presenter, sharing tips for collaboration in regional economic development from her experience around the world, was the University of Northern BC’s Marleen Morris, co-director of their Community Development Institute. What an opportunity it was to hear success stories from her, and to engage in discussions with so many gifted and smart Columbia Basin residents on these and other matters.

And do we care what happens with the Columbia River’s water levels, when the Treaty is renegotiated (likely not terminated) over the next year?  The Hon. Bill Bennett was there, with his trusty ADM Les McLaren who is a veritable goldmine of info on the Columbia River Treaty. While there’s going to be a Treaty forum here on Nov. 7, it will likely be less rich than the sharing that took place from all corners of the Basin.

Do we care about the CBT’s Social, Environmental and Economic strategic plans that deliver grants and programs and investments here?  And what about creating some lasting legacy that will benefit generations long into the future, when a whole whack of money flows to the Trust from the Arrow and Waneta hydro generation? Or might the Province want to help itself to some spare change then?

About nine Castlegar and area individuals participated, but none of our ‘leaders’ except for our MLA Katrine Conroy and Sculpturewalk’s executive director Joy Barrett.  Compare that with just about the whole of Nakusp’s council, many Slocan City councillors, at least seven Revelstoke municipal and related people, and mayors and regional district directors from these and many other communities.

I’d be interested to hear from our mayor how he thinks we need to be operating and relating in the region. And what is the Columbia Basin Trust to the City of Castlegar, beyond being a good taxpayer whose super building we use for our Council meetings?


Antoinette Halberstadt

Castlegar.  BC

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