2017 Convention & AGM


Thank you to all our sponsors, delegates and presenters!  The 2017 AKBLG Convention was filled with laughter, learning and camraderie.   Please watch for announcements about the 2018 AKBLG Convention & AGM hosted by the City of Fernie.


Our 2017 Convention theme is “Becoming smarter, leaner communities”. Through workshops, presentations and study tours we will explore how technologies can help us become smarter, more efficient and more effective local governments. From drones to Internet of Things, from Community Engagement software to Tech Cluster Development, we’ll learn, share and celebrate technology in our Kootenay & Boundary communities.

BYOD! Bring Your Own Device!

To get the most from the Convention and especially sessions marked with BYOD, bring an ipad, notebook, laptop, or smart phone that can connect to the internet.


The Convention Venue

The 2017 AKBLG Convention & AGM will be hosted at the Prestige Mountain Resort, a full service hotel located right in Rossland's downtown. Most Convention sessions and meals will be hosted here. The Prestige Mountain Resort has a dining room, lounge, coffee shop, gym and a business service centre. All Rossland accommodations are within a 5 minute drive of the Convention venue. A shuttle service will be offered between the Convention venue and Rossland accommodations. See the Convention Shuttle Service below. 



Convention Schedule & Program

To see the full schedule click here.

Our 2017 Convention theme is Becoming smarter, leaner communities. Through workshops, presentations and study tours we will explore how technologies can help us become smarter, more efficient and more effective local governments. From drones to Internet of Things, from community engagement software to tech cluster development, we’ll learn, share and celebrate the development and application of technologies in our Kootenay & Boundary communities. We'll also have conversations about other topics that are important to our communities including poverty reduction, support to families, food security, climate action and responsible government.

And in the evenings, we have planned some relaxing, unique social events featuring good food, good laughs, and plenty of time to network with your colleagues.


Meet our MC and Keynote Speakers

Master of Ceremonies,  Mike Stolte, is no stranger to local government and Kootenay-Boundary communities. He has facilitated and presented at past AKBLG Conventions as well as  many national conferences.  As the Executive Director of the Centre for Innovative & Entrepreneurial Leadership ( www.theCIEL.com ), he has worked nationally and internationally in the field of community, economic & business/ entrepreneurial development.  He is the originator and co-creator of the Business Vitality Initiative, the Community Vitality Initiative, the Communities Matrix, the Community Check-up, and the Green Light Check-Up, all tools and processes to assess and strengthen communities.   Mike will be wearing more than one hat at our Convention, as he is also presenting with the Family Action Network team during the concurrent workshops.




Opening Keynote with Amber Hayes,  Technology Entrepreneur and MIDAS Project Director

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks – Local Governments & Technology  

Join technology lifestyler and serial technology entrepreneur Amber Hayes for an entertaining look at the technology-enabled present and future of communities and governments. GIS, AI, IoT, Big Data, Open Data, Analytics, Fab Labs? Don't have a clue what any of these words mean? Or what they do?   No worries! Amber will get you tech-talking like a 12 year old and lay the groundwork for other Convention workshops and presentations.  



Closing Keynote with Dan Buchner and Sue Abuelsamid

Paying Attention – Understanding the human side of implementing new smart technologies

"Whenever a new technology is introduced into society, there must be a counterbalancing human response –" -John Naisbitt

With every introduction of new smart technologies into our organizations and communities there are intended and unintended consequences on people; citizens, public servants, and politicians who must adopt them. Often the human side is overlooked in the implementation of these new technologies. During this highly interactive workshop you will experience tools and techniques for uncovering people’s latent needs and assessing the implications for the people in adopting the technology. The tools and techniques are based on proven human-centered design principals. Applying them with a deep sense of curiosity will help you better understand the consequences of new technologies on the people in your organizations and communities. 


Dan Buchner

Dan Buchner is an award winning designer, innovator, entrepreneur and business executive. For nearly 30 years, Dan has been developing innovative products, creating compelling new services, and helping leaders foster innovative practices within their organizations and communities. Dan is a sought-after international keynote speaker on innovation practices. He has directed interdisciplinary projects for leading organizations such as Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, and USAID. Dan believes in the power of innovation and leadership to positively impact society

Sue Abuelsamid 

Sue is a leadership coach,  speaker, and educator. She is driven to help people get curious, with the goal of building better relationships, communities, and businesses, and a better world. She has worked successfully with organizations such as Shell, Anne Arundel Community College, Calgary School Board, and the Banff Centre in the area of leadership development. Sue has recently published a book on Curiosity titled “That’s a Really Good Question”. 


Pre - Convention Study Tours

Wednesday April 26th from 10 am - 11:30 am  

MIDAS Fab Lab Tour & 3D Printing Demo with Brad Pommen, with MIDAS Lab Director and Jason Taylor, Selkirk College Researcher

Tour the MIDAS Fab Lab with Brad and Jason.  The MIDAS Fab Lab is part of the global network of fabrication labs that are democratizing digital fabrication, allowing anyone to make almost anything.   FabLabs are asking - and answering - how will we live, work and play in a world where things can become data and data can become things? The Fab Lab is housed in a newly renovated accessible space with state of the art, enterprise-level equipment including: 3D Printers, 3D scanners, CNC milling equipment, woodworking, an electronics lab, teaching and co-working space.  This will be a hands-on tour. You might even get 3D printed!

Back to the Future: Heritage &Infrastructure Walking Tour with Mayor Kathy Moore, City of Rossland

Join Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore to tour recent heritage and infrastructure initiatives undertaken by the City of Rossland.  Board the bus outside the Prestige to travel up to the North Jubilee Wetland but be prepared to walk (downhill) back to the Prestige.

Your (rain or shine) tour will start at the  North Jubilee Wetlands Restoration & Outdoor Classroom. The City has tried, unsuccessfully for decades, to drain the natural wetlands in Jubilee Park. We'll discuss how the community-led North Jubilee wetlands restoration project evolved, with the support of School District #20 and the City of Rossland.   And we'll hear  about some of the challenges and results.  We'll travel towards our newly rebuilt Washington Street corridor and stop at the Old Emcon Lot.  Once a train yard, then an Emcon service lot,  this lot is now owned by the City of Rossland and plans for its redevelopment are being made. The City has already committed part of the lot to a future Skate Park and Youth Centre.   We'll continue along the shiny new sidewalks of Washington Street to the Old Bank of Montreal. By the 70's much of downtown Rossland had lost its historic character.  Discover how Heritage based design guidelines and Revitalization Tax Exemptions have helped restore Rossland's downtown including the Old Bank of Montreal Building.  We'll proceed along our extensively rebuilt main street to the Miners Union Hall  where an extensive renovation and restoration is underway. Originally built in 1898,  the Miners Hall has become Rossland's community hall.  This project is an excellent example of repurposing of a heritage building to meet the current needs of the community.  If we're lucky, we'll be able to climb to the 4th floor which is being transformed from a dusty, unused attic space into 2000 square feet of functional community space. 

Drone & Data Collection Demonstration with Ian Parfitt & Ian Dennis of th  Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre 

Drones allow us to elevate our perspective and get a bigger picture of an area of interest. Join the SGRC Unmanned Aerial Vehicle team of Ian Parfitt & Ian Dennis for an (rain or shine) outdoor drone demonstration.  In the same way that your your two eyes provide you with information that allows your to create 3 dimensional images, photogrammetry  takes  images collected that can be compiled to create 3 dimensional models of the over flown terrain.  If you have ever wanted to have a bird’s eye view of the landscape, this is your chance! The SGRC team will demonstrate how to fly a highly sophisticated drone over Rossland while it collects data. Then they will demonstrate how the data is compiled, interpreted and  used to inform the decision making. You might even get to try flying a drone!  


Our Plenary Presenters

Big Data & Internet of Things with Brian Fry & Pilar Portela of i4C Innovation Centre  BYOD! 

The world is quickly moving from basic computerization and automation (Industry 3.0) to cyber physical systems (Industry 4.0), opening a door to unparalleled opportunity for rural Canada. Pilar, Brian and their partners have founded i4C,  an International Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation Center which is poised to attract IoT companies and innovators from around the world  to the Lower Columbia region.

Building Competitive Clusters in the Basin-Boundary Region with Dr. Terri MacDonald, Regional Innovation Chair Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute

Research indicates that clusters are the key organizational unit for understanding and improving the performance of regional economies. What are clusters and why do they matter? How can a cluster-based approach be used to develop the regional economy and workforce?  

Metal Tech Alley: A Metals Cluster Development Initiative with Terry Van Horn, Economic Development Officer for the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC)

By building on the Lower Columbia’s well established world class metals industry and combining it with the region’s emerging technology sector, the Tech Metal Alley cluster initiative  is designed specifically to support the creation of new business and economic activity.

Why Community-based Poverty Reduction Makes Good Sense with Jan Morton, Jill Zacharias, Nadine Raynolds, Valerie Warmington and Nichoel Sutton of the Columbia Basin Regional Poverty Reduction Working Group 

By examining causes and impacts, developing indicators and measuring outcomes, the communities of Nelson, Trail, Revelstoke and Cranbrook are working collaboratively to develop and implement poverty reduction plans.   This workshop will highlight ‘game changing’ moves that will help communities reduce poverty by addressing transportation, food security, and living wage employment. AKBLG attendees will leave the session with inspiring ideas to take back to their own communities.

Bridging Town and Country: Lesson from the Central Kootenay Food Policy Council (CKFPC) with Abra Brynne, Coordinator of CKFPC

Presenting with Aimée Watson – RDCK Electoral Area D Director, Ramona Faust – RDCK Electoral Area E Director, and Ari Derfel – Central Kootenay Food Policy Council Executive member.

The Central Kootenay Food Policy Council (CKFPC) focuses on enhancing food security and economies throughout the RDCK.  We bring together people from inside and outside of local government, in community organizations and in industry. The CKFPC  takes a solutions-based approach to food systems, paying particular attention to policies that can better support regional food economies.  By working together, we help communities connect and share resources to tackle issues like excess fruit and bears and create systems that ensure farmers take home more money at the end of the day.

Place, Technology & the Future of Rural Communities presented by the Rural Development Institute and the Canadian Regional Development Project.

with  Terri MacDonald, Regional Innovation Chair; Kelly Vodden, Environmental Studies Chair, Memorial University; Sarah-Patricia Breen, Researcher, Selkirk College; Ken Carter, Director, Grenfell Office of Engagement, Memorial University

Technology and innovation seem to be everywhere, but what role can they play in advancing economic and workforce development in our Region? What challenges are we struggling with?  Are there local examples of the successful application of technology to economic and workforce development?  This session will explore best practices and engage attendees in discussion around challenges , gaps and solutions in  their own communities.  

Becoming an Intelligent Community: The Nelson Experience with Andrea Wilkey – Community Futures Central Kootenay and Deb Kozak, Mayor - City of Nelson; Allison Sutherland,  Manager, Information Technology & Fibre Network - City of Nelson

How can rural communities be successful in the global economy? What best practices can we adopt to future-proof our communities, retain and attract youth and knowledge workers and enhance innovation in our region? As local government how can we improve lifestyle, convenience and services for citizens?  This presentation will provide an overview of Intelligent Community best practices and examples of how they can be applied in the Kootenay Boundary to create and retain jobs in our communities.

Surviving City Hall: Telling Our Stories with Donna Macdonald – Former Councillor, City of Nelson

Politics can be a lonely job, and sharing our stories helps to break the isolation, offer new ideas and reassure us that things could be worse! Donna will present reflections and stories from her book Surviving City Hall through a lively and entertaining presentation.

UBCM's Working Group on Responsible Conduct with Gary MacIsaac, UBCM Executive Director and UBCM President Murry Krause

Questionable conduct is an emerging policy area for local governments in BC and across the country. The issue is multi-faceted and includes elements of education, advice, investigation and enforcement. Due to the complex nature of this subject matter UBCM, the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and the Local Government Management Association of BC, have formed a working group to examine responsible conduct of local government elected officials. The working group will conduct an analysis and undertake policy work on this issue, which will inform a UBCM policy paper that will be considered by our members at the 2017 UBCM Convention.  This session will provide an update on the work of the committee to date and give elected officials an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.

Leading Conversations That Matter: Technology & Community Engagement with Lea Scherck, with Lea Scherck, Senior Vice President and Amy Pol, Stakeholder Engagement Facilitator for Thoughtexchange  BYOD! Get the most from this session-bring your own device!

How can local government best use on-line engagement software to engage their communities? Thoughtexchange is a Rossland- based tech company with more than 30 employees.  Their community engagement software brings groups of people together on-line to share ideas and have conversations that matter.   Lea & Amy will lead us through a Thoughtexchange session using the newest version of the app.   You'll be asked to share your thoughts on themes and ideas for for next year’s AKBLG Convention.


Concurrent Workshops 


100% Possible: Transitioning to Renewable Energy in the Kootenays with Montana Burgess, Executive Director of the West Kootenay EcoSociety and Andrew Gage, West Coast Environmental Law and lead on the Climate Law in our Hands initiative  (Ross Thompson Room)

The climate crisis is costing Kootenay communities: wildfires, drought, flooding, declining snow-pack, mountain pine beetles. Kootenay communities must ask hard questions about how we are being harmed, who is responsible and how to build renewable energy alternatives.

Over 2500 Kootenay residents have signed-on to support their communities’ just transition to 100% renewable energy no later than mid-century. The West Kootenay EcoSociety’s 100% Renewable Kootenays initiative will showcase leading renewable energy and energy efficiency cities in Canada and aboard, showing that 100% renewable is 100% possible in our local context.

At the same time, our communities and our renewable energy future will always be at a disadvantage if the fossil fuel industry continues to make hundreds of billions of dollars from products that cause climate change without being asked to pay their fair share of climate impacts.

West Coast Environmental Laws Climate Law in our Hands Initiative asks local governments to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for local climate impacts, using tools ranging from an inexpensive, simple “climate accountability letter” to a class action lawsuit.

A renewable energy future is inevitable; the question is which cities will lead the charge and reap the economic, social and environmental benefits?

New Developments in Broadband for Underserved Communities with Rob Gay, Chair of Kootenay Boundary Regional Broadband Committee (Plewman Room)

Internet service in many of the villages, small towns and electoral area of can be slow, inexpensive or non-existent.    Recent work by the Kootenay Boundary Regional Broadband Committee has resulted in new developments.  Come learn about these developments and how your communities can get involved.

Getting on the Bus to Healthy Communities with Andrea Winckers, Lower Columbia Healthy Communities Planning Team (Kirkup Room)

Health is not health care! It’s walkable streets, healthy early childhood development, access to recreation, income & jobs, education, and social inclusion. Health is found in our parks, our infrastructure, our housing developments, and our food system. It’s found in access to life-long learning and in being able to make ends meet. Health is especially found in our ability to collaborate to create these conditions in our region.

Everyone wants to live in a healthy community, so every one of us must get on the bus and start moving together in that direction. This work has been started in many places around the province, and we are going to highlight some of what’s happened in the last few years, as well as describe the process currently underway in the Lower Columbia to build a healthy region for all.



Accelerate Kootenays: Transportation and Building Energy Initiatives with Megan Lohman, Head of Community Energy Management, RDEK and Patricia Dehnel, West Kootenay Region Energy Advisor, Community Energy Association (Kirkup Room)

What can Kootenay & Boundary communities do to accelerate the building of energy efficient buildings and encourage electric vehicle transportation? How can we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and meet our climate action commitments while building local energy resilience and supporting community economic development? 

Accelerate Kootenays is an innovative regional initiative that will build a network of electric vehicle charging stations between the Okanagan and Alberta. Increased adoption of electric vehicles (EV) by Kootenay residents will reduce transportation emissions and support local climate action commitments.  With Community Energy Plans in place, most Kootenay & Boundary communities are ready to accelerate their building efficiency initiatives, which may include regional collaboration in adoption of the new Step Code.Attracting and retaining young families to our rural c

Which Lens Are You Using? Local Government Decision Making to Help Families ‘Stick’  with Christy Anderson,  Executive Director of the Family Action Network and Mike Stolte, CIEL  (Plewman Room) 

Attracting and retaining young families in our rural communities helps keep our communities vibrant, increases our tax base, and provides local business with regular customers. How can local governments keep the wellbeing and needs of families front and centre so that their communities can attract and retain young families?   This session provides information on the economic benefits of investing in the early years, concrete examples of how to do that in our rural communities and  mechanisms for keeping families at the core of our decision making at the local government level.

 “It takes a village to raise a child – and families to raise a region”

Open Data for Open Government with Ian Parfitt, Director and Ian Dennis, Researcher with the Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre (Ross Thompson Room)

Open data policies are becoming increasingly common for Canadian governments at all levels, often as part of open government initiatives.  Open data includes any data that is available in standard machine-readable formats, is freely available and accessible over the Internet, is unencumbered by license restrictions, and can be re-used in any imaginable way.  The goal of the SGRC’s “Open Data for Open Government in Rural BC” project is to investigate the potential outcomes of open data policy at the local scale for rural regions and communities through a detailed case study situated in British Columbia’s rural Kootenay region.  This presentation will include an interactive session where the audience will be invited to open up and share their thoughts about open data.


Our Convention Partner Plan:  Bring a friend to the Convention

Bring your partner, friend or spouse to the AKBLG Convention.  We've designed our program for maximum flexibility.  Have your partner join you for all meals, or just for the Reception or Banquet.  Partners can even chose to attend the Study Tours.   And while you're attending the Convention sessions,  your partner can explore Rossland and the surrounding area.   Kootenay Gateway,  our downtown visitors service centre will be located in the Prestige Lobby for part of each day.  They'll be happy to provide information about trails, shopping, cafes and our heritage walking tour.  Kootenay Gateway also has a store front on the main street. 

Hike, Bike or Walk

Interested in adventuring into the hills around Rossland? Kootenay Gateway can help book a half-day hike, bike or walking adventure tailored to your abilities.  Special convention rates available. Book and pay for your adventures directly with Kootenay Gateway on arrival.  Or contact them in advance at 250-362-0080   or https://www.kootenaygateway.com/


Social Events 

Wednesday April 26th -  Dinner Around Town   5 -7:30 pm

Enjoy the restaurants of Rossland and have ‘Dinner Around Town’ Wednesday evening.  Use your $20 coupon at any of our participating restaurants.  From sushi to burgers, Thai to Italian, California fusion to pub food, Rossland features a delicious range of dinner options.  See the restaurant list here

Round up your dinner party and make a reservation!  Participating restaurants are holding spaces, but you must make a reservation before 1 pm on Wednesday April 26th

Check for participating restaurants on the Dinner Around Town board in the Prestige Lobby.  Restaurants and reservation phone numbers are also listed on the back of your Dinner Around Town coupon.  All restaurants except the Rock Cut Pub are located within easy walking distance of the Prestige.  The Rock Cut is located on Hwy #3 enroute to RED Mountain area.  See our Shuttle Bus Schedule for Shuttles to the Rock Cut & RED Mountain.

Read the fine Print- Coupon valid only on April 26th between 5-7:30 pm.  One coupon per customer.  Redeemable for food only (no alcohol).


Wednesday April 26   7:30 - 9:30 pm

Olaus Jeldness 'Tea' Party at the Rafters Lounge at Red Mountain Resort

sponsored by the  Southern Interior Development InitiativesTrust (SIDIT)

You are cordially invited to join Olaus Jeldness and his friends for one of his legendary tea parties. Olaus, the father of competitive skiing in western Canada, allegedly held his first tea party in 1898. He invited his friends to hike to the top of Red Mountain to drink copious amounts of "Jeldness Tea” then attempt to descend on 10 foot wooden free-heel skis. Just in case of mishaps, Rossland's doctor was stationed at the bottom of the hill.  Join us, and Olaus, for a sweet and savoury dessert reception. (NO skiing required.)

Bring your complimentary ‘tea’ ticket and your sweet tooth – because we’ll be serving heavenly Rossland-made desserts from Mountain Nugget Chocolate, Sweet Dreams Cakery and Mountain Bites.  Casual dress…ski toques and old school skiwear encouraged.  Olaus himself might serve you your ‘tea’.

For shuttle service between Rossland – Red Mountain return, see our Shuttle Bus Schedule.


Gala Banquet at the Prestige Mountain Resort

sponsored by Teck Trail Operations

Join us at 6:30 pm for pre-dinner cocktails in the Ross Thompson Room followed by a sumptuous buffet feast prepared by Gabriella and her team at 7 pm. 

Then get ready to laugh…and play!  Join our charming host Phillus Dillus of Altitude Entertainment for a made-in-Rossland evening of hilariously interactive entertainment featuring   The Price Is Jeopardy Or No Deal Of Fortune: The Game Show Show.  Get the game show out of your TV and into your life.   And of course, there will be prizes!

The Price Is Jeopardy Or No Deal Of Fortune - Don't just see the show, BE the show



Convention Shuttle Service

See links below for Convention Shuttle Service

Accommodation to Convention Shuttle Schedule

 Wednesday Study Tour Bus Schedule      Wednesday Evening Social Events Bus Schedule   Thursday Evening Gala Banquet Bus Schedule

The Convention will be providing a shuttle service between the Red Mountain area and downtown Rossland via the Hwy 22/3A junction during regular Convention hours. Accommodation located within easy walking distance of the shuttle route includes: The Prestige Mountain Resort, The Flying Steamshovel, Casa Alpina, Red Shutter Inn, Ramshead Inn, all Red Mountain Village lodges, and the Red Mountain Resort properties of Slalom Creek, Silver Tip and Morningstar.  

 Transportation will also be provided for all Study Tours and evening social events. The Red Mountain area is a 5 minute drive from downtown Rossland or a 20 minute mountain bike ride along the Centennial Trail. The Convention venue (Prestige Mountain Resort) is located on the main street of our compact and walkable downtown. 




We are very grateful to the local organizations and businesses that sponsor the AKBLG Convention. Your support allows us to deliver a dynamic, fun and informative program. If you are interested in joining us as a sponsor in 2017, please contact 2017 Convention Coordinator Ann Damude at adamude@telus.net or AKBLG Executive Director Carolyn Maher at akblg@shaw.ca.   

Sponsors who are also interested in presenting at the 2017 Convention are asked to complete a Presentation Proposal (see Call for Presenters section below).



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Contact Us!

For info about the  2017 Convention, contact Coordinator Ann Damude at adamude@telus.net    For inquiries about 2018 sponsorship please contact Carolyn Maher, AKBLG Executive Director at akblg@shaw.ca.   


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