Local Government Associations
Local Government Associations are a powerful vehicle for local governments around the world. We see local government associations everywhere - in South Africa, Sweden, Australia and of course here in British Columbia.
In fact, one of my first conferences as a newly elected Councillor was at our Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Government Association. I saw a bright enthusiastic board working hard to deliver a meaningful conference, stick handle some advocacy pieces and run the Annual General Meeting.
I was instantly struck with the desire to be a part of the board. I have always been drawn to the bright lights in local government and I can assure you, the bright lights are working on external boards on our behalf to bring value back to the region.
A local government association holds the election of board members at the AGM, and I enthusiastically put my hand up to run ‘from the floor.’ The election is by the membership, and I was very pleased to be awarded a seat, and then be re-elected two years later. I have enjoyed four years as a Director with the AKBLG, and they have been unbelievably valuable.
The number of Local Government Associations (LGAs) around the world continues to grow, and the functions they deliver have expanded. Core functions of LGAs include; being an important place for the exchange of ideas, collaboration and professional development. Local Government Associations lobby and campaign for changes in policy and legislation, and through design, one of our goals is to build capacity in our region.
In the past four years, in addition to hosting our Annual General Meeting, we have provided two mid-year workshops to take a deeper dive on emerging issues. The first workshop we delivered was called, Aging in the Kootenays: Exploring Impacts and Opportunities. This was an opportunity to explore the Kootenay-Boundary’s aging population and learn about tools available to help seniors age in place.
The second workshop was, Healthier and Wealthier Through Food, a skate through regional food councils, sustainable food systems and the regionalization of agri-food systems.
Like a moth, I continue to be attracted to the bright lights in local government. Serving on an external board is both incredibly rewarding and a lot of extra work, but the value coming back to our region, as a result, is very important.
At the moment, the Kootenays are well represented on a variety of external boards and I am thankful for the time commitment of these local leaders. Certainly, my four years on the AKBLG board have been the highlight of my time in local government.