Allocating $7,000 to a sustainable community forum

Lisa Goudy
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At the March 24, 2014 council meeting, Coun. Don Mitchell talks about the environment advisory committee's recommendation for council to allocate $7,000 to the Sustainable Community 2014 Forum planned for September.

Council approves environment advisory committee’s recommendation

The Sustainable Community 2014 Forum will likely take place this fall.

The majority of council approved the environment advisory committee’s recommendation to allocate $7,000 from the solid waste 2014 recycling initiatives account for the forum that will be held in September.

“Well, $7,000 can be a lot of money, but to me it’s not a major investment for the potential gains of this kind of forum,” said Coun. Don Mitchell, who presented the report and moved the motion. “The major allocation would be co-ordinating a resource to work with the planning committee to line up the publicity and promotion for the event, to work with panel presenters and other speakers to prepare an integrated program.”

The event will be a collaboration effort between advisory committees, city administration, council and third party partners such as Wakamow Valley.

Originally the forum was set for March 7 and 8 at SIAST Palliser Campus.

“For a combination of reasons, that timeframe wasn’t working and we decided to put it to the fall,” said Mitchell. “We had selected some priority topics which will be reviewed and considered as part of the fall program.”

Topics to be considered include conservation and sustainability in River Valley, development and renewal in downtown Moose Jaw, diversity in the labour force and community inclusion and affordable and social housing needs and strategies.

The committee is also investigating holding it at venues other than SIAST such as the Moose Jaw Public Library or potentially a school location for some of the events.

However, Coun. Dawn Luhning said she would like to see a budget on what the $7,000 would be used for because it is “a lot of money.”

“There’s nothing in the report that gives us any indication as to what the committee wants $7,000 for and if council will recall, we had quite a bit of a discussion back in budget about the money allocated to the advisory committees,” she said. “I do understand that the environment committee had access to quite a significant amount of money. They don’t anymore, but … if it’s just to bring a speaker in for $5,000, that to me doesn’t justify that cost.”

Mayor Deb Higgins agreed with Luhning. She said she attended the event two years ago.

“They were very good, but we also I think need to do a bit of an analysis on the conference to make sure we’re reaching the people we need to reach,” she said. “While this has been planned and is well on its way to being an event this fall and in September, I … prefer to see a bit of a breakdown in the budget as to what the money’s being asked for and how it’s going to be spent. I think that’s more appropriate.

“It’s something that we would expect from all departments and I think no less should be expected from advisory committee.”

The motion, however, was carried.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Public Library

Geographic location: Wakamow Valley, River Valley, Moose Jaw

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