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Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody mayors make cross-Canada RV jaunt
The Tri-Cities' three mayors will be attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' convention starting May 30 in Niagara Falls but they won't be flying.
They'll be hauling.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart, Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore and Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay will drive a motor home across the country, ending up at the annual FCM convention, with the aim of learning along the way about best municipal practices in other Canadian communities.
During their week-long journey, the trio will visit with 23 other mayors "to discuss their success and changes" in local government, Moore said. "It will be a great way to share."
"It really is an opportunity to examine what kind of infrastructure challenges every community faces," Stewart said. "We can learn a lot from each other."
Clay said he keeps in touch with civic politicians from Alberta and Ontario whom he met on his first FCM convention in Calgary. Over the years, they have provided useful advice about municipal affairs.
Clay said the Tri-City mayors hope to come back from their journey with fresh ideas to implement on home turf.
The idea of the mayors' adventure came at last year's FCM in Vancouver.
"We didn't put much thought into it," Moore said. "Earlier this year, I reminded Mike and told him we should do it. We kicked it around for a while and then decided to go for it."
Their itinerary will be fast-paced:
• Day 1: Tri-Cities, Burnaby, Merritt, Kamloops, Golden;
• Day 2: Golden plus Canmore, Calgary and Medicine Hat, Alta., and Swift Current, Sask.;
• Day 3: Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Regina and Whitewood, Sask., plus Brandon, Man.;
• Day 4: Brandon and Winnipeg, then Kenora and Dryden, Ont., with the rest of the stops also in Ontario;
• Day 5: Dryden, Upsala, Thunder Bay, Nipigon, Marathon;
• Day 6: Marathon, Wawa, Sault Ste. Marie, Blind River;
• Day 7: Blind River, Sudbury, Parry Sound, Mississauga and, finally, Niagara Falls.
During the voyage, the Tri-City mayors will be blogging, taking photos and uploading videos about their experience at townhaul.ca.
The RV they are renting will have WiFi and they will also be using social media to communicate via Twitter @townhaulcanada, Instagram @townhaulcanada and the YouTube channel townhaulcanada.
As for the costs, Moore said all expenses are being covered by sponsors so Tri-City taxpayers won't pay anything for accommodations and travel; the names of the sponsors will be unveiled on the website, which launches on Tuesday.
As well, no city staff time will be used, Moore and Clay said.
FCM officials will highlight the mayors' western trip at the conference, which runs May 30 to June 2. And while there, they also plan to liaise with east-coast mayors and elected officials to talk shop.
Moore said the the return trip will be much faster as they will drive straight back through the U.S.