Mayor Kerry Cook is one of 86 mayors attending the first-ever Mayor Symposium being held in Penticton this week.
“The symposium will involve discussions on key issues that face all our communities regardless of location and population,” Cooks says. “The topics are great.”
Topics on the agenda include a new deal for B.C. communities, building B.C.’s economy, and moving forward.
There will be opportunities for mayors to share information, to seek economic benefits to share resources, to forge policy agreements that will influence decisions by federal and provincial governments, to explore means of mutual support in the delivery of mutual services and to pursue economic development.
“Those topics really tie together with city council’s resolution that was endorsed at the North Central Local Government Association to go on to the Union of BC Municipalities about the delivery of government funds for infrastructure projects,” Cook says.
One of the topics is the financial environment of B.C. local governments and the fact that 65 per cent of infrastructure is municipal, 60 per cent of all police officers in B.C. are funded by local governments, and the majority of fire services are covered municipally.
“Municipal government is the level of government that most closely affects people’s lives,” Cook suggests.
Last week Cook was among five mayors on a panel at the 2012 Cities Fit For Children Provincial Summit held in Kamloops.
She says she seized the opportunity to showcase some of the positive things that have been going on in the community.
“I presented a Powerpoint. Because it was a B.C. summit with people from all over the province, my first slide was a general introduction to WIlliams Lake,” Cook says. “Then I went into the topic and talked about what’s going on in Williams Lake that goes above and beyond the basics.”
Cook showed slides on partnerships, agencies, different festivals for children, and highlighted the unique things in the community.
“I talked about our youth council, about our Communities That Care pilot project, the new bike park, and the importance of recreation infrastructure for children and youth. One of the questions was about literacy so I discussed the partnerships with literacy, such as the ones our Rotary clubs have developed with First Nations communities and the libraries out west.”
She finished the presentation talking about the May 8 council meeting where the three delegations were all presented by children.
They included Kids Running for Kids — the project where children will run from Williams Lake to Vancouver to raise money for Children’s Hospital. Three children gave a slide presentation and updated council on their progress.
Mountview Elementary School Grade 7 students have been working with Mary Forbes from the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society and proposed that the city place more recycling bins in downtown parks and on city trails.
The third delegation involved the presentation of a Community Spirit Certificate to Cataline elementary school students and staff, and Seniors Village Retirement Concepts residents and staff, for an intergenerational project involving students and seniors.
“I was able to show how we’re listening and open to youth initiatives and framed it in the whole new way we’re doing our integrated planning into our official community plan.”
One of the things she heard about was that Kamloops has and Vernon is about to adopt a children-friendly charter.
“That was a highlight for me and something I’d like to see here,” Cook says.