Creekside RV Park opened behind the Fruitvale Memorial Hall in the late summer. The project was a collaboration between Area A and Fruitvale. (Trail Times file photo)

Mayors, director tout ’collaboration builds communities’

Collaboration is working together to create something, writes Area A director and BV mayors

To collaborate, according to the dictionary, is to work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something. Like many communities, Beaver Valley residents have practiced collaboration for years, getting things done within the Villages, and throughout the Valley. Collaboration helps bind and build community connections. It just makes sense.

For instance, Beaver Valley Recreation is a service funded through the Regional District by Fruitvale, Montrose and Area A. Three groups partnered their tax dollars, ideas and re-sources to build better communities. Great things have happened, such as the new skate park in Montrose, the development of the Beaver Valley Family Park at Marsh Creek, including a professional disc golf course, and many upgrades to the Beaver Valley arena. Successful collaboration inspires more collaboration.

Dialing back a few years, the Village of Fruitvale piloted the Age Friendly Program, funded with a grant from the Province, following full consultation with local retirees and seniors. The Village hired the perfect Age Friendly Coordinator to launch the pilot and, after just one year, had a fully engaged group of participants. The Village then approached the Beaver Valley Recreation Committee with a request for this program to be incorporated into the overall recreation budget. Fast forward to today, five years in, with expanded programs for Valley retirees and seniors: Senior Recreation Programs, Craft Classes, Community Tours, Buddy System, Handy Person Resource Book, Personal Care Book, Monthly Luncheons, Educational Monthly Coffee Meetings, Computer Classes, Crib Tournaments, Community Garden built with local elementary students…and more!

It is no surprise that this hugely successful program won a Provincial Award! We still have the same wonderful coordinator, her side-kick, and many other volunteers who have taken on full ownership of retirees and seniors’ activities, while continuously making improvements. This program tops the charts in BC for inclusion through healthy living activities, educational programs and overall connectivity.

Collaboration became essential when the funding model for the Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives changed several years ago. Each community took their portion of funding and went their separate ways. The Beaver Valley communities realized quickly that we could fund a much broader scope of projects if we pooled our resources. No discussion. We just did it. We have funded many wonderful projects, big and small, here in the Valley, and, throughout the Region: Air Cadets, BV Curling Club, BV Manor, Kiwanis Club of Trail, KBRH Health Foundation, Youth Soccer, Red Mountain Racers, West Kootenay Minor Softball, Colombo Lodge, SPCA, United Way, BV Historical Society, Red Cross, Kootenay Horse Association, and more. Teamwork and collaboration support the diverse needs and good health of the region.

More recently, when the Village of Fruitvale approached Area A about a full hook-up RV park behind the Fruitvale Hall, it made good sense, as the land was there, the need was there, with all of the amenities only minutes away. Creekside RV Park became a reality. What a great addition to our Valley and for the region! Neither party could have done this on their own.

On a broader scale, regional partners have collaborated on a very successful economic development engine, the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation, known to most as the LCIC. That regional service has been funded by the East End Seven of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary: Areas A & B, Warfield, Rossland, Trail, Fruitvale and Montrose. The LCIC has effectively branded our region as a terrific place to work and live, marketing the area for investment, industry and tourism opportunities. The LCIC showcases our lifestyle, shares contacts for major employers, local governments, housing markets and regional amenities. The LCIC team provides a one stop shop for investors, or anyone looking for new horizons, and a great place to work and live. Check out their website and share the excitement.

One of the most effective strategies for the LCIC is the area’s new business brand, Metal Tech Alley; a concept researched and developed by locals and investment consultants. The Metal Tech Alley initiative focuses on our robust metallurgical and technology sectors, highlighting the collaboration between the new i4C Innovation Centre, and partnerships with KAST (Kootenay Association of Science and Technology) and MIDAS (Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies Centre). New start-ups, new investment and new jobs are already on the scoreboard for our region. The Metal Tech Alley strategy reflects the LCIC’s mandate to drive economic development by showcasing the area’s strengths and potential. The co-funding behind the LCIC initiative exemplifies regional economic development, and demonstrates what can be achieved through collaboration.

Cooperation. Alliance. Partnerships. Teamwork. Relationships. Collaboration is working together to create something. It is gratifying to reflect on what can be accomplished.

submitted by Montrose Mayor Joe Danchuk, Fruitvale Mayor Patricia Cecchini, and RDKB Area A Director Ali Grieve

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