Last week, the Town of Salmon Arm hosted delegates to the annual convention of the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA).
SILGA is an association representing elected officials from 37 regional districts and municipalities in the southern interior.
The purpose of SILGA is to represent the various local governments, to improve the level of service provided by local government, to work with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) and provincial ministries and to educate and to help elected officials provide good government to local citizens.
In 2020 and 2021, annual meetings were held online and regular workshops and speaker sessions were also held remotely.
Conventions like these take several months to plan and organize, so work began in 2021 with the hope of being able to deliver them in person to Salmon Arm for 2022. Thankfully, with many health restrictions now lifted, we have could continue. The convention is a combination of annual general meeting, resolution session, keynote speakers, workshops and tours.
For the host community, it’s an opportunity to showcase local excellence, which we were very happy to be able to do. Delegates were able to tour our Innovation Center, ZEST Food Center, Salmon Arm Arts Center and a robotic dairy. Plus, delegates were invited to put their skills to the test at one of our award-winning golf clubs, a superb lawn bowling facility, and enjoy a tasting at our two new cider houses. The Salmon Arm Legion, Song Sparrow Hall and many local downtown restaurants were able to accommodate our guests as part of the event, and the staff at the Prestige Inn Harbourfront Resort went out of their way to accommodate us. Also 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 persuasive 50/50 sales, $800+ has been donated to the Shuswap Family Resource Center.
The workshops addressed many concerns, including housing, health care, emergency response, food sustainability, climate change, forest management, economic, social and cultural development. We had the pleasure of welcoming the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the Hon. Nathan Cullen, UBCM President Laurey-Anne Roodenburg and UBCM CEO Gary MacIsaac.
For me, the highlight of the convention was definitely Jesse Wente’s keynote address, 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 delegates for his heartfelt, deeply personal and often amusing exploration of how, as communities, we can move forward. forward and help with the healing that we all need to undertake.
From there, momentum builds for UBCM to be held in September in Whistler where local concerns, ideas and opportunities from across British Columbia will be addressed.
In summary, Salmon Arm and the three days of glorious sunshine certainly didn’t hurt. We have much to be proud of as a small town with big ideas and still a lot of work to do. I am so grateful.
Louise Wallace Richmond is a councilor for the town of Salmon Arm.