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National conference good learning, networking tool

Coun. Arjun Singh was one of eight council members representing Kamloops at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Vancouver this past weekend.
June 05, 2013 - 7:21 AM


KAMLOOPS—Eight city councillors were in Vancouver this past weekend for a national conference aimed at giving councils across the country a common voice and while one Kamloops councillor thinks there is great value in the conference he believes more work could be done to get the most out of the conference as a council.

There is a lot of speeches, a lot of sessions and a lot of networking during the five day Federation of Canadian Municipalities event but Coun. Arjun Singh says there are several items that could be of particular interest to Kamloops.

“There was quite a bit of value for me, and hopefully for the community as well. The value we get as a community to have people there is quite large,” Singh said Tuesday morning. “There was a number of things I learned at FCM that might be interesting to talk about locally.”

How that information is brought back to the rest of council could use work though, Singh said.

“We're still working on that,” Singh said of sharing the information gathered at the conference. “We do that informally already. We need to look at how we can make sure we're in to different things and then share the information.”

Out of the sessions Singh went to the items that stood out as potentially beneficial to Kamloops was a tool developed by the Rick Hansen Foundation used to help rate accessibility to community facilities, how to better engage youth and cost savings for bylaws departments. There were also discussions during social events that could have some merit, including the usage of Twitter and promoting games and tournaments, he said.

Youth engagement was of particular interest to Singh, who is looking forward to a possibly opportunity for councillors across the province to further discuss how to work with younger people to engage in local issues.

The days all started around 8 a.m. and sessions would run up to 5 p.m. Evening receptions and other networking opportunities filled the rest of the time during the annual conference.

The value of the social events should not be discounted either, Singh said. The connections councillors can make can serve council well in the future, especially when another council has experience in an area new to council. Understanding the priorities of the federal government and changes happening that could affect council's approach to some things is all beneficial as well, he said, and a lot of these things are discussed during the social events as well as the designated sessions.

While almost all of city council was in attendance this year, Singh expects it to be a different story next year when the conference is held in Niagara Falls.

“It was in Vancouver this year, it made it easy. Next year is in Niagara Falls and I'm sure most of us won't go.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email, call (250) 819-3723 or message through Twitter @JennStahn.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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