Kelowna city councillor

Gail Given

Kelowna city councillor Gail Given had such a good time at a politicians’ convention that she’s going to go more often.

At the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Quebec City, Given, one of seven Kelowna councillors to make the taxpayer-funded trip, said she attended several informative sessions.

“I have to say how much knowledge was gained through attending FCM,” Given said at Monday’s council meeting.

She learned a lot, she said, about topics such as the opioid crisis, single-use plastics, and considering trees, marshes and parkland as part of a municipality’s natural assets.

Previously, Given said, she’d gone to the FCM annual convention only about once per term in office. Now, she said, she will “reconsider” that relatively infrequent attendance.

Councillors Brad Sieben, Ryan Donn, Maxine DeHart, Lloyal Wooldridge and Luke Stack and Mayor Colin Basran all said they learned a lot about topics such as affordable housing, drug-abuse strategies, the fifth-generation cellular network technology for broadband access, public art and Indigenous reconciliation at the FCM convention.

Stack said he particularly enjoyed having some time to simply chat with the five West Kelowna city councillors who also made the trip to Quebec City. He doesn’t get much time to do that when he’s in Kelowna, Stack said.

Basran said he was one of only nine Canadian mayors invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Coun. Charlie Hodge, who has had serious health challenges recently, said he was disappointed he wasn’t able to go to the FCM convention.

“I’m envious,” he told those who made the trip.

Coun. Mohini Singh, who has never attended the FCM during her seven years in office, said: “I’m sorry I missed FCM, but someone had to stay home . . . I’m sure it was a great learning experience, but there’s always next year.”

The enthusiasm of Kelowna and West Kelowna city councillors for attending the FCM convention in Quebec City greatly exceeded the interest shown the event by other Okanagan politicians. No councillors from Vernon or Lake Country went, one went from Peachland and Penticton, and two went from Summerland.

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