Connecting with Local Governments at UBCM
BC Healthy Communities Society (BCHC), on behalf of the PlanH Program, attended the annual UBCM convention tradeshow in Vancouver on Sept 26 and 27th. With almost 2,000 delegates attending, BCHC had many opportunities to hear from local politicians from every corner of the province. Local governments were asked to identify opportunities and/or challenges in their healthy community work. Some of the most commonly mentioned challenges & opportunities that we heard about during the two-day tradeshow were the lack of affordable and appropriate housing, especially for seniors who wish to age in place, and helping youth to stay engaged in community and recreational activities. Other issues mentioned included barriers to active living (e.g. long winters), ways to help community members to connect with one another and have a strong sense of belonging, limited access to transportation services, issues with access to healthy food, strengthening local economies, and ways to reduce homelessness. The most commonly mentioned themes heard during the two-day tradeshow were the lack of affordable housing, lack of senior and at-risk youth care facilities, barriers to physical activity (e.g. long winters), issues with connectivity and sense of belonging, limited access to active transportation services, issues with food insecurity, and poverty reduction and homelessness.
Some of the opportunities identified were the benefits of tourism in small communities (which also poses challenges with housing, however) and the potential of addressing issues with locally customized solutions.
With over 75% of BC’s cities, towns, municipalities, and villages being small, rural or remote communities of less than 30,000 people, the convention provided a great opportunity to connect with leaders from these remote and/or rural areas. Although such communities experience diverse and unique challenges, many that BCHC spoke with mentioned similar issues (identified above). We enjoyed seeing partners that we have worked with in the past as well as meeting many new people at the event. Thank you to everyone who contributed their thoughts and shared their stories on healthy community building at our booth. Moving forward, BCHC will reflect upon these stories and the rich conversations that occurred during the convention and use our findings to tailor our programs to better meet the needs of our diverse BC communities.
Six lucky visitors won items from our prize draw. Five delegates each received two books which New Society Publishers donated, while one delegate won the grand prize, a selection of healthy treats from Whole Foods Market. The list of delegates that received prizes are below:
1. Ralph Fossum, District of 100 Mile House (Whole Foods Gift Basket)
2. Brad Bowen, District of Sparwood
3. Leslie Adams, Town of Golden
4. Lori Wiedeman, Village of Queen Charlotte
5. Cathy Thicke, Clayquot Biosphere Trust
6. Ruby Decock, Village of Port Clements