Mayor takes advantage of learning from other’s success

As The Mayor Sees It with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys

Recently I was in Kimberly attending the Mayors caucus. The city of Kimberly did a great job of hosting one day of the caucus at their convention centre. There was a presentation around how the city was promoting itself to the world. A portion of that ad campaign was a poster that said “Send us your weirdos. Wanted: square pegs, odd folks, innovators, entrepreneurs and others unaccustomed to using the word can’t. Kimberly: A Good Place To Be”   The picture was of a fellow with skies on his back riding a scooter.

Now as odd as this sounds the poster was in truth a very effective way to draw you into exploring just what the city was all about. As some may know Kimberly was primarily a mining town that in the past few years has also become a resort and tourism destination with the largest urban park in Canada. The change from a resource extraction economy to a tourism focus required a well planned and executed promotion of the area and what it has to offer.

Kimberly has grown over the past few years and continues to invite new people to come and experience what they have. That being, Kimberly is a friendly place inhabited by friendly residents willing to welcome you to their community.  At the same time the city Council is working to build what will be the largest “Sun Mine” in Western Canada. The solar power project is slated to produce approximately two mega watts of grid connected power during the initial stages of development. All this has grown out of the local sustainability plan which included the need for locally produced power from renewable resources.

It may seem to some of you that I am promoting the city of Kimberly. While it may be a great place to live I am far from suggesting that it is “the” place to live. What I am suggesting is that we here in Barriere can learn from what others have done already and found success from their efforts. Barriere already has an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan and an Official Community Plan. Many residents helped with these plans and the result was a framework to go forward.

I am aware that there is a segment of our population that just want things to be the way they were. They want to be able to build a shed in their back yard without having to check the bylaws. They want to have a few animals on their acreage without the bylaw guy telling them they can’t. The fact is though that in the past even as an unincorporated community there still were bylaws in place. Perhaps they were not enforced or followed by everyone but they still existed and administered through the Regional District.

I am not advocating that we try to turn Barriere into some sort of highly controlled, tightly planned community with the resulting high taxes. That would be the last thing I personally would want. I moved here by choice. I like Barriere and the surrounding area for everything it has to offer and perhaps more importantly for the things it does not have. Who wants traffic problems, high taxes, uncontrolled urban sprawl that creates enemies of neighbours and people that are so focused on making money they don’t have the time to enjoy their family , their community and life in general? Barrier had and still has a rural appeal that is precious and needs to be protected.

We need to pull together and go in the direction that is the choice of the majority.  We need to get back to the things that are positive and work together to fix what is broken. At the end of the day we need to go home feeling like we have helped to build a better community not spend our time tearing down what has been done. We need to stop speaking of all that may be bad and start focusing on what is good and how to make it better for everyone.  We need to work towards a community that fits our needs.

Barriere is a great place for everyone to live. That fits, let’s promote that.