Nakusp to host government conference

AKBLG back in town after a 13 year absence

  • Mar. 25, 2015 7:00 p.m.

Trisha Shanks

Arrow Lakes News

April 22-24 will see an influx of more than 200 visitors to town. Most of the hotel rooms and B&Bs  will be full to capacity with area politicians attending the annual Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG), being held this year in Nakusp. The conference is a chance for politicians at the municipal and regional levels to meet, socialize, learn and collaborate. Nakusp last hosted the annual nomadic event in 2002.

Coordinator Veronica Sargeant who has lived in Nakusp full- time for three years, has a background in conference planning namely for the Alberta Regional Consortia which focuses on professional development for educators.

Sargeant said, “This is my wheelhouse. I have done a lot of event planning, thousands in my day. Nakusp has it’s unique challenges being a smaller centre. We have to be creative because we don’t have big venues, but that’s the beauty of a small village. We want to spread the business around among different establishments so that many benefit economically.”

Hamling added, “We came at it from the purpose of trying to do something positive for the village. We want to showcase the community, so everything that the planning committee has done has been done with that in mind. We’ve approached all of the restaurants in town with a meal voucher program,” describing the creative way that they have come up with to feed the masses and share the business among many Nakusp eateries.

“Normally the welcome reception for AKBLG is held at the hall but it’s been moved to the Legion, where there will be a casino night and karaoke for the participants. Veronica has been very good at making sure that the community is involved,” said the Mayor.

Some of the conference highlights will be the planned tours — various participants will be visiting some of the locations that have been made possible by the “phenomenal amount of grants that Nakusp has received,” said Hamling, “It’s going to be showcasing our various projects that we have received funding for over the years. People will be able to see the grant money in action.”

Delegates will choose between a dip in the hot springs with a tour of some of the energy-saving measures or to see some of the new, ‘green’ infrastructure such as the micro-hydro power generating plant which earns the village more than $30,000. a year in income by selling power to BC Hydro.

“This has given me a wonderful opportunity to see what innovative things have been done, to see how willingly people get on board. The micro hydro plant, the beautiful bridge that was built (at the Hot Springs), it’s great to have a deeper understanding of some of Nakusp’s successes,” said Sargeant.

“We are really excited in case you haven’t noticed,” added Hamling. “I’m really looking forward to Deborah Gray coming. I’ve seen her twice before, and I always said, ‘if I ever have a chance, I am going to get her as a speaker.’ She is wonderful!”

Gray, the keynote speaker, was Canada’s first-ever female Leader of the Official Opposition and is known for her quick wit, humour and compassion.

“We are dependent on the sponsors and a ton of volunteers. Everything comes at a cost, and having financial support from local businesses is invaluable. Also, any local folks with a few hours or a few days to lend a hand will be needed,” said Sargeant.

One thing that the organizers still need are volunteers. Help is required with decorating, event set up, registration, hosting, monitoring, driving, and event take-down. Benefits include meeting new people, working on a team, getting creative, representing the village of Nakusp and helping to make this a fantastic regional event. To get involved, drop by or phone the village office at 250-265-3689 or visit www.akblg.ca/2015conference.