As we approach the New Year, there are many reasons to look forward with optimism. Golden Area Initiatives will bring a national conference to our town. Called, “Rural Resurgence: Innovative Solutions for the Attraction and Retention of Young Adults” from June 11-14, 2013.
The event will bring together a mix of individuals ranging from researchers from a variety of disciplines that have studied interventions, to communities that have piloted innovative projects and governments that have supported initiatives. The event will be infused with the voices of young adults who will give their opinions on what attracts them to rural areas.
It will not be a regular conference, but designed to provide opportunities for sharing and exchange so that everyone leaves with new insights and ideas to address this concern in their own context.
The Ministry of Transportation has informed us that a new project was recently approved in our area as part of the Premier’s announcement at UBCM. This will be the twinning of the Trans Canada Highway east of Donald to Golden. This will compliment the recently upgraded Donald Bridge. The start date and budget will be confirmed in January.
When the Columbia River Treaty Provincial Review Team visited a few weeks ago, they made a commitment to organize a meeting with Local Government, BC Hydro and the Ministry of Forests to discuss road access and maintenance into the Kinbasket Lake area.
The Town of Golden is working with Shaw Telecom G.P. (who bought out NanoFibre Networks), to enter into a new agreement that will bring a much faster and more reliable high speed connection across the Kicking Horse River to the Town office. While the Town is still in confidential negotiations with Shaw, improved service (reduced latency, greater bandwidth) and reliability should be in place by no later than next spring (weather permitting).
The Town of Golden is also in the process of finalizing a service delivery agreement with the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (owned by CBT), and has an existing agreement with Davinci Broadband to provide a connection that provides wireless service to customers who don’t have access to high speed fibre (i.e. residents of Area A outside the Town boundary). The wireless service issues experienced by Davinci due to the poor Telus connection will also be addressed once the new high speed Shaw connection is in place.
Golden Area Initiatives and the Town of Golden were selected by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to be one of the 22 municipalities participating in a new local economic development project starting in 2013. In embarking on this local economic development program, staff from Golden Area Initiatives and the Town of Golden will share their advice and best practices to support an improved enabling environment for local economic development in 14 Caribbean, CARICOM-Member countries.
In the past few weeks I have met with several of Golden’s major employers including CP, LP and KHMR. Louisiana Pacific (LP), is anticipating further improved North American markets in 2013 which they hope will add to production requirements. In addition, the Golden operation will be focusing on export items for the company. In all they are forecasting a 20 per cent improvement for 2013.
Another major employer with 100 million invested in our community to date is Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (KHMR). This will be the first full season of ownership with the RCR consortium and pass sales are up. A 24 semi-detached home project is slated to begin in 2013 and presales have already started.
Committee appointments have been assigned to various council members. A Mayor’s Standing Finance Committee has been established to review and recommend financial objectives and policies during the deliberations over the five-year financial plan. As well, an Economic Development Service Vision Committee has been created to examine the current vision and delivery model for economic development.
As a community, we can look toward 2013 the future with confidence and expectation. On behalf of your dedicated council and hardworking town staff, I would like to take the time to wish you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a healthy, prosperous New Year. May we all continue to work to enhance the place we are proud to call home.