It took six months of intense planning since the fall convention, and -not surprisingly-, the AAMDC 2013 Spring Convention held at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton was a total success. The Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) held its annual spring event to cater to hundreds of representatives and leaders of Alberta’s 69 rural entities and the municipalities they include.
For one day only, the Aggregated Business Services Trade-Show gathered 130 commercial and government entities that displayed products, services and information to convention delegates. Many offered insightful literature and useful gadgets bearing their logos, meant to remind the user of the presence and quality of the retailer or service provider. From the AAMDC Advocacy group to Xplornet, this trade-show was well received and a great majority of convention delegates took advantage of this collaborative learning opportunity.
Bob Barss, president of AAMDC, was a congenial host and dynamic speaker, and several members of his team were on hand to competently greet convention guests, exhibitors and ministers. At the opening Ceremony, Paul Lorieau sang O Canada, to everyone’s delight. AAMDC members were updated on the provincial budget, ambulance, water, the MGA review and other topics. Interestingly, this convention had its own mobile app, where “convention details were only a click away”. Sponsored by Stantec, app.aamdc.com was full of convention details and much appreciated by all who used it.
A comprehensive guide to the agenda of the convention and its presenters was dutifully prepared by the Nisku-based AAMDC team (pronounced AAMD & C): in her message to convention delegates, The Honorable Premier Alison Redford stated that “every day, your councils and municipal employees work hard to ensure Alberta has –and will continue to have- strong communities that provide the foundations for safe, modern and livable cities.”
One of the highlights of the convention was the Long Service Awards, presented for 9 to 40 years of service. In our area, a special mention and grateful thanks go to Leduc County’s councillors Ruth Harrison, Audrey Kelto and John Shonewille for nine years of service, and to County of Wetaskiwin’s Rod Hawken for 25 years of service. Carolyn Kolebaba of Northern Sunrise County, the AAMDC vice–president, was a tireless convention helper all week long: she was also recognised for her 15 years of service to her county. It is worthy of mention that County of Forty Mile’s Dale Brown was recognised for forty years of loyal service.
There were many worthy workshops at this convention, as there are many areas of interest for municipal districts and counties. The Emergency Management Planning, Fragmenting and Guide to Rural Living with Urban Expectations sessions were well attended: several meetings rooms were dedicated to discuss resolutions, municipal grants, the RCMP and the Alberta Rural Municipal Supervisors Association, among others. Richard Wirzel, an author and a leading North-American futurist and Donna Tonna, a certified trauma specialist were keynote speakers.
Several open houses were taking place throughout the week, enabling hosts and convention attendees to network and share valuable information. Platinum sponsors of the convention ATCO Gas, ATCO Electric and GENIVAR were congenial hosts, and while a few ministers visited the open houses, Premier Redford also made an appearance and pleasantly posed for a few photos with county and MD officials and other guests.
Quoting “Rural Connects”, an AAMDC publication offered at the convention, “if cities are the economic engine of the province, rural Alberta is the fuel that feeds it”. Furthermore, “according to the Conference Board of Canada”, every dollar of economic activity generated in Rural Alberta contributes 74 cents to urban areas […] Rural still matters!”
The last day of the convention offered a Public Forum with over sixteen ministers and the province’s Premier, Mrs. Redford. Dubbed the Bear Pit, this favorite event took place before a packed convention hall, and people were lined up at three microphones to ask questions of the ministers present. The honorable Minister of Municipal Affairs Doug Griffiths addressed the crowd and discussed several topics, including the budget, the MSI operational grant and the upcoming 911 legislation. Premier Alison Redford also spoke, being positive on the future of our province: Honorable Fred Horne Minister of Health “focused on better patient care experience, better healthcare outcomes and value for the taxpayer’s money.”
Wetaskiwin MLA and Honorable Minister of Agriculture Verlyn Olson participated in the Bear Pit and while rushing off to attend another meeting, he was stopped by delegates wishing to thank him for his participation – and his tireless work to represent the farming community of Alberta.
The AAMDC Fall Convention will take place on November 12-15 at Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre: organizers are once again looking forward to a full house. The association’s new website, www.aamdc.com is well designed and shock full of information.