I am writing this from my hotel room in Victoria where I am attending the annual Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Convention. Normally I would focus my report on Village of Anmore business and what’s going on in our neck of the woods, but instead I am going to type about some of the great conversations taking place regionally and provincially and how these new ideas apply to our Village.
Earlier this month I had an opportunity to attend the SFU Public Square Mayors Roundtable on Community on behalf of Mayor Anderson. I was excited to participate in this conversation about community at the regional level and what I gained from the discussion was that despite our obvious differences, there are some common issues that all Metro Vancouver municipalities share when it comes to the social health of our communities. The roundtable focused on municipal strategies for strengthening community bonds, increasing residents’ sense of belonging, and building more vibrant and resilient communities. Many of these strategies will fit well into the Anmore context and I look forward to bringing them forward to our council and committees for discussion.
The 2012 UBCM convention has had some useful clinics and forums. The first I attended was a session on Local Government Finance. There was much discussion on the effects of provincial offloading of expenses to municipalities, fiscal sustainability and how municipalities can and should diversify their revenue streams. While Anmore doesn’t have the benefit of a diversified tax base from commercial and industrial properties, we can focus on a good balance of user pay services, property tax contributions towards shared services and an emphasis on careful planning of infrastructure replacement. Most interesting was the conversation about how some US cities have taken to implementing their own municipal income tax, beer taxes, local car taxes, etc., to meet their growing infrastructure costs!
The UBCM Small Talk Forum focused on challenges in health, transportation and the environment for small communities across BC. One health care professional that had been invited to speak placed a strong emphasis on moving away from standardized care and towards a team approach to health care. The idea being that a more successful and economical approach to patient care would be to provide patients access to a multidisciplinary team including a doctor, nurse practitioner, social worker, etc. There were some great successes discussed, including small community achievements in providing outdoor recreational services in lieu of costly construction of indoor facilities.
I also attended a panel discussion on social media. More and more municipalities and councils are using online sources to get news out and gain valuable feedback from residents. I won’t go into too much detail, as I should probably be tweeting about it or posting it on facebook!
I am half way through the UBCM convention and look forward to attending their annual meeting, resolution session and some of their clinics, including one on collaborative watershed governance in BC.
Thanks for reading!
The Vancouver Foundation and SFU Public Square are hosting the 1st Annual Inaugural Community Summit next week and I am looking forward to hearing some inspiring ideas of how to make community connections in a world where people are more and more becoming disconnected to their neighbours and neighbourhoods!
As part of the Summit, I will be attending the "Mayors Roundtable on Community" on behalf of Mayor Anderson and the Village of Anmore as Mayor Anderson has a prior commitment. Mayors and council will use this roundtable to discuss municipal strategies for strengthening community bonds, increasing residents’ sense of belonging, and building more vibrant and resilient communities.
For those interested in attending an event at this week long Community Summit, you can find more details here: http://www.sfu.ca/publicsquare/community-summit.html .
From their website: The Community Summit is an annual gathering convened by the SFU Public Square that focuses on a local or international issue of public concern. The Community Summit creates the space for citizens to come together to jointly research, discuss, identify solutions and take action on emerging and relevant issues. The SFU Public Square works collaboratively with community partners from across the region to build upon their work, support their efforts and amplify their reach and impact.
Our little community of Anmore is celebrating 25 years since incorporation this year. What's amazing to realize is that while we are 25 years old as an official Village, we have homesteading families that have been in Anmore for almost 100 years.
The valley of Anmore was first homesteaded in 1914 with parcels of land going for $5 per acre! Several of the original homesteading families stayed in Anmore and their children and grandchildren are here today to carry on their legacy. These families include the Spence's, the Sparks, the Leggit's, the Lazure's and a few more that we are uncovering as we dig deep into our archives.
As a way to celebrate our history, the Village of Anmore has begun archiving family stories from as far back as 100 years ago, to more recent family stories in a video archive project. So far we have 2 stories of local families and we look forward to many more. It's heartwarming to hear from locals about the old Anmore and how much this place is a part of their history. As a resident of only 9 years, I look forward to the day our family can look back on the history of Anmore in such a personal way.
Here are the stories of the Spence family and the Sparks family. Enjoy! I will post more as they become available.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It's great to be out in the community, participating in some of the great events in and around Anmore and speaking to residents about what matters to them!