Last week, the City of Salmon Arm welcomed delegates for the annual SILGA (Southern Interior Local Government Association) convention.
SILGA is an association representing elected officials from 37 regional districts and municipalities across the southern Interior, .
The purpose of SILGA is to represent the various local governments, enhance the level of service provided by local government, work with the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and provincial ministries and educate and assist elected officials in providing good government to local citizens.
In 2020 and 2021, the annual meetings were held online and regular workshops and speaker sessions were held remotely as well.
Conventions such as these take many months to plan and organize, so work started in 2021 with the hopes of being able to provide it in person in Salmon Arm for 2022. Fortunately, with many health restrictions now lifted, we were able to proceed. The convention is a combination of annual general meeting, resolution session, keynote speakers, workshops and tours.
For the host community, it is an opportunity to showcase local excellence which we were very pleased to be able to do. Delegates were able to tour our Innovation Centre, the ZEST food hub, the Salmon Arm Arts Centre as well as a robotic dairy. In addition, delegates were invited to try their skills at one of our award-winning golf clubs, amazing lawn bowling facility and do a tasting at our two new cideries. The Salmon Arm Legion, Song Sparrow Hall and many local downtown restaurants were able to host our guests as part of the event, and the staff at the Prestige Inn Harbourfront Resort went above and beyond to accommodate us. In addition, BC Transit was chartered for transportation and the drivers, as always, were amazing.
SILGA always does its best to support the local community and through some persuasive 50/50 sales, $800 plus dollars have been contributed to the Shuswap Family Resource Centre.
The workshops addressed the many concerns including housing, healthcare, emergency response, food sustainability, climate change, forestry management, economic, social and cultural development. We were pleased to welcome the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Hon. Nathan Cullen, UBCM President Laurey-Anne Roodenburg and UBCM Executive Director Gary MacIsaac.
For me, the convention highlight was, without a doubt, the keynote address from Jesse Wente, entitled Dreaming Our Future: Storytelling and Healing Our Way Forward. Wente, an award-winning Indigenous author, broadcaster and Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts, received a standing ovation from the delegates for his heartfelt, deeply personal and often funny exploration of how, as communities, we can step forward and help with the healing we all need to undertake.
From here, momentum builds for UBCM which will be held this September in Whistler where local concerns, ideas and opportunities from across British Columbia will be addressed .
In summary, Salmon Arm and the three glorious days of sunshine certainly didn’t hurt. We have much to be proud of as a small city with big ideas and still plenty of work to do. I am so very grateful.
Louise Wallace Richmond is a councillor with the City of Salmon Arm.