Along with four other councillors, I spent last weekend in Winnipeg, at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual meeting. These are large meetings, attended by mayors and councillors from towns and cities from across Canada, with multiple concurrent sessions, tours, and a trade show featuring new products and ideas.
This year I found many good ideas at the trade show. One that I think would be useful as we're rejuvenating Kinsmen Park after years of neglect, is a new type of barbecue surface. This surface can be fueled by propane, natural gas or electricity, and has many positive aspects. For one, no wood is required, which means no clean up of coals and ashes. Because there is no open flame, there is no risk of fire, so these would be usable during fire bans. I think that this is an option that our parks people should investigate - I know that many families like to barbecue at the park, and this would make it easier and safer.
I saw a couple of examples of rebar that are meant for corrosive environments - one type was made of fibreglass, the other of galvanized material. Considering the amount of time and expense that have been required to repair the bridge and various overpasses, using products that last longer only makes sense to me.
Since we still have gravel roads, and administration is still oiling them (despite direction from council to stop), seeing non-oil products that control dust without polluting our water system was encouraging.
For all of these products, I'll be passing the information along to administration - I hope that they follow up.
We toured Winnipeg's flood mitigation system, which they've had to make use of. Interestingly, even with their recent history of serious flooding, their flood plain is based on a 1 in 200 year flood risk, unlike the 1 in 500 year risk that our provincial government thinks that we should follow. Even at that, their mitigation system cost more that $1 million - a major investment.
We also got to listen to federal politicians, who recognize the importance of city governance in carrying out their various plans. The prime minister, for example, spoke about the proposed infrastructure program and its priorities, so that we have a better understanding of how to take advantage of funding opportunities.
As I said, this is a large conference, with multiple learning opportunities - far more than could be taken in if only one or two members of council attended. I always learn at these conferences, and I appreciate any opportunity to learn how to do my job better, whether by saving money, or solving long-term problems. I'm sure that my fellow attendees feel the same.
"Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela