In an effort to bring you even more local content and more local voices we’re happy to introduce you to our newest columnist, Nancy Bepple. Nancy is well-known in the community as a former city councillor and is a passionate community advocate. Never scared to let her opinions be heard we look forward to hearing about whatever has caught her attention each week.
My name is Nancy Bepple, a recovering politician and local news junkie. In my column for InfoNews.ca, I’m going to share what’s happening in Kamloops, and things that might be happening elsewhere which impact our city. I’ll cover political issues and public interest stories. And an occasional story about a banjo.
One of the best things about Kamloops is how different groups work together to achieve a common goal. Kamloops is big compared to all the towns around it, but it’s still small in many ways. By working together, groups can make things happen that might not be possible otherwise.
Take the Mayor’s Gala for the Arts for instance. Now in its ninth year, the gala is a collaboration of the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra, Western Canada Theatre, and the Kamloops Art Gallery. It is an evening of celebration of all things in the arts in Kamloops. Who’s who is there to feat the people who make the arts come alive in Kamloops, while at the same time raise funds which will help the three groups keep producing arts events in our city.
Another great partnership is the work of ASK Wellness Centre and Canadian Mental Health Association Kamloops. The two groups, who could be competing for scarce resource for their clients, instead collaborate on many projects, as was the case with creating the new Emerald Centre shelter on West Victoria Street.
Affordable housing, which may soon be a very large issue if the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the Ajax Mine go ahead, is another where people and groups in Kamloops work together. The Homelessness Action Plan brings together City of Kamloops, non-profits, landlords and others to find ways to providing housing for people in our community.
Kamloops Sports Council represents over 50 sporting groups in Kamloops. Since 1990, they have supported local athletes. As well, they have brought outstanding events like the Special Olympics and the 4 Nations Cup Hockey tournament to Kamloops. Through the Sports Council, local sports groups have created the Legacy Performance Games, which allow up and coming athletes to experience competing in elite sporting events. Kudos that both abled and disabled sports are included in these games.
One of my favourites is the Kamloops Innovation Centre. Home to about 15 technology startup companies, it provides office space, mentoring and events to help tech entrepreneurs launch their companies. The centre is full of young TRU grads working hard to make their dreams come true in Kamloops. It’s wonderful to see these highly skilled professionals stay here rather than move farther afield.
Besides homeless shelters, affordable housing, sports and technology, there are a host of other partnerships in Kamloops. Being a small city lends itself to collaboration, but I think it’s more than that. It’s part of what it means to be a Kamloopsian. There is a natural tendency in this city to find ways to cooperate rather than compete. We all know we’re better off working together.
— Nancy Bepple is a recovering politician and local news junkie. She expects she will never recover from her love of the banjo.