In 2017, District of Elkford CAO Curtis Helgesen and Mayor Dean McKerracher travelled to Colombia to speak with local government and students about working with mining companies as part of a Federation of Canadian Municipalities mission to La Guajira, Colombia. Photo courtesy of Dean McKerracher

District of Elkford nominated for national awards

District, CAO recognized for role in mining town liaison program

An Elk Valley municipality’s efforts to help mining communities in Latin America become more sustainable have earned it national recognition.

The District of Elkford is among five finalists for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) 2019 Institutional Award.

The award is given to Canadian local governments that have demonstrated exceptional commitment and leadership in FCM’s international programs, which, in Elkford’s case, is the Sustainable and Inclusive Communities in Latin America (CISAL) Program.

LOOK BACK: Elkford Mayor and CAO advise Colombian municipalities

Elkford’s Chief Administrative Officer Curtis Helgesen is also in the running for the Mike Badham Individual Award. It recognizes an individual whose contributions are above and beyond in terms of innovation, creativity, engagement, and leadership.

A five-year initiative funded by Global Affairs of the Government of Canada and implemented by the FCM, the CISAL Program is designed to support local governments in Latin America in their efforts to manage the impacts and benefits of mining development, and to promote sustainable economic growth for its citizens.

Throughout the program, Elkford has participated in seven missions to Colombia and Peru, and hosted Colombian and Peruvian delegations twice in Elkford, once in 2015 and again in 2017.

LOOK BACK: FCM international program visits Elkford

“It has been a great honour, privilege and pleasure to collaborate with our Colombian and Peruvian friends on an initiative of this magnitude, developing and sharing strategies for sustainable development,” said Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher.

Helgesen said the most rewarding part of the program is witnessing his South American counterparts’ genuine passion and desire to learn.

“Their growth throughout the process is a direct product of their willingness to embrace the program so openly,” he said.

In a release issued Friday, the District attributed the program’s success to its council and staff, the Regional District of East Kootenay, Ktunaxa Nation Council, Teck Coal, several local community organizations, and the periodic participation of other local governments.

The District congratulated all candidates for the FCM awards, saying it is an honour to be recognized alongside them.

The award winners will be announced at FCM’s annual conference in Quebec City from May 30 to June 2.

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