Vision Rally Tonight! (Oct. 5, 2011)

Angie Barnard:  Oct. 4, 2011

WHO – Organizers

The four independent, non-partisan people who organized the event are Kim Smythe, Andrea Rosato-Taylor, Donna Hais, Angie Barnard.  To keep ticket prices to a minimum for the general public, we got sponsorship from businesses & organizations who we know personally & could mobilize finances quickly, and that supported our mandate for the rally.

WHO – Keynote speakers: Ken Melamed and Mike Harcourt

Learn how Whistler, BC took a hard look at their future after the Olympics and decided – between businesses, city hall and the community at large – what they would become ‘after’ being acclaimed as one of the top luxury ski resorts in North America. Mayor Ken Melamed shares how they plan to achieve sustainability and how they developed the “Whistler 2020 Vision” and a program called ‘iShift’. What role did each partner play, who were the real leaders in the process, who will carry that torch?

Then, hear one of the world’s foremost experts speak on the success and sustainability of cities in today’s world. Learn how community service and vision come together to build the communities of tomorrow. Find out how leadership, direction, and vision give a community greater strength. Spend some quality time with our keynote speaker for the evening: MIKE HARCOURT.

Former Premier of BC from 1991-96, twice Mayor of Vancouver, and multi-term City Councillor, Mr. Harcourt is an icon of community service and leadership. Since stepping away from politics in the mid-90’s, he has been appointed by the Prime Minister to the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy, where he chaired the Urban Sustainability Program. He was appointed a BC Treaty Commissioner and was Chair of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee for Cities and Communities. He co-chaired the UN Habitat World Forum in Vancouver in 2006. He is Chair of the UBC’s Regional Sustainability Council, and author of “A Measure of Defiance”, co-author of “Plan B: One Man’s Journey from Tragedy to Triumph” and co-author of “City Making in Paradise”.

WHAT – Public Rally

The general public of Nanaimo is invited to a ‘COMMUNITY VISION RALLY’. The two keynote speakers above admirably meet our objective to inspire Leadership, Community Service, and Change through their experience, speaking skills, and role modeling. We hope to attract a large audience of citizens interested in the future of their community.   We hope to draw leaders from that audience of inspire those with thoughts of leadership that this is the time for them to step forward and share that ‘Network’ moment.

WHEN / WHERE / HOW

Wednesday 05 October 2011
Vancouver Island Conference Centre, 101 Gordon Street
6pm Doors Open (estimated 9pm finish)
Tickets $12.50 (tickets can be purchased at the door)

WHY – The motivation behind the Rally

The four of us came together because we were tired of having conversations at home complaining about a) the lack of a ‘can-do’ culture, and b) lack of sufficient private or public sector leaders who openly & progressively have the skills & vision to steer our community.

We took it upon ourselves and have working behind the scenes for months to develop strategies for a succession plan for ‘qualified leaders’, and to engage the support of individuals that have the capacity and ability to shape our future.  The four of us do not necessarily support the same municipal candidates, but we individually and collectively support the same underlying principles of leadership (refer ‘Successful Cities’ criteria below).

One of our strategies we have brought to fruition is the ‘Community Vision Rally’.  The mantra for the Rally is “Lead.  Run.  Vote.”  Everyone in attendance at the rally should be committed to one – if not more than one of these, desired actions NOW in the lead up to the next election.  We need CHANGE to redirect our collective energy towards a new, more positive, and productive future. We need fresh ideas, a disconnection from the status quo and ‘the way its always been done’, and a hunger to ‘reboot’ Nanaimo.  We need inspired LEADERSHIP who want to open an entirely new book on the way business is conducted between city hall and its potential partners in economic development – those who understand and are committed to community consultation and support participatory government.

Most of all, we need large numbers of people who (and we know they exist) who will take this as their ‘Network’ moment.We also understand that the Community Vision Rally may be just the beginning depending on the community support demonstrated at the Rally.  We suspect that new initiatives & projects will surface as a direct result of the Community Vision Rally, and we will be evaluating possible next steps after the event on Wednesday 05 October.

WHY – 10 Essential Elements to Nanaimo being a Successful City

  1. A Business Friendly Culture (Entrepreneurial Governance)  If a city is to compete effectively it must seek to create a business-friendly environment. Unless it can generate large scale employment then it will not create the wealth that must underpin every aspect of its life and culture. This is no longer simply a matter of light regulation and low taxes, important as these are, but success also requires the fostering of a culture of research, innovation and education. Entrepreneurial governance demands strong civic leaders with a vision of where they want to take their city and an economic strategy that embraces partnership with local businesses.
  1. Quality of Life:  Successful cities are places where people want to live.  These communities are experiencing population growth at or “reasonably” above the national average.   In a globalizing world, the creative people that cities need have many choices. The evidence is that they are attracted to cities which offer not just financial rewards but the quality of life to which they aspire. Cities are especially successful if they are able to attract more young, well-educated individuals than they lose – experiencing “brain gain” (as opposed to a “brain drain”).  This will create a skilled workforce and foster a culture of innovation, research and development AND pride of place.
  1. Culture of Collaboration:  Successful communities are able to create and sustain an atmosphere of “civic collaboration” that balances the ability to “get things done” with today’s public desire for openness and inclusiveness.  We expect our civic leaders to move the community forward, but we also want to have a say in the process.  Collaboration and partnerships are the vehicles of community-based innovation and local governments have a lead role in organizing and convening the processes.
  1. Sustainability:  The most successful cities will be those that combine efforts to take a long-term view in formulating plans and policies, and work to make them relevant to their own particular situations. For economic development to be successful, it needs to be sustainable. Careful consideration should be given to balancing economic, social and environmental objectives to achieve improved quality of life and sustainable growth.  Sustainable communities are able to attract people because they create a positive image of a place to live and conduct business and it is important for local governments to recognize this connection and, where possible, incorporate sustainability into their economic development approach
  1. Culture of Innovation:  The introduction of new techniques and processes is the key to creating the knowledge-based industries that generate high standards of living. Over the last 30 years, a large part of the growth in output in developed countries has resulted from innovation. Innovation depends on a strong research and innovation base and the creation of networks, involving both the public and private sectors, for generating and sharing knowledge.  Successful cities have leadership that accepts reality of this “New Economy” and understands that it is changing everything for cities across the globe.  (The “New Economy” refers to the transition from an industrial/manufacturing-based economy to knowledge/human-capital-based economy).
  1. Connectivity:  Good communications both to the outside world and within the city are crucial. Without a good airport and, where appropriate, ports and international rail links, no city can make the leap to world league status. Similarly, good internal communications, underpinned by adequately funded public transport provide the essential infrastructure for the movement of people, goods and services.
  1. Diversity:  Successful cities appreciate that economic, cultural and social diversity make for a vibrant city.  A diverse economy is better equipped to weather economic cycles. Cities that embrace diversity in all its forms including cultural and ethnic diversity are better equipped to generate the creativity that cities need, making themselves attractive to the skilled migrants that have been so integral to the economic success of cities around the world.
  1. Distinctiveness: Successful cities are those that have a particular identity that helps them attract businesses, skilled workers, visitors and students. Often this may involve strengths in the creative and cultural sectors, which can in turn impact on economic success.  A vital part of this distinctiveness is “Pride of Place”.
  1. Physical Renewal:  The physical regeneration of cities – the renewal of its buildings and infrastructure-is almost invariably a key part of any successful urban strategy. In many cases the renewal of a key area of the city acts as a focus for national and international attention as well as generating civic pride and the ‘buzz’ that the city is on the move. But physical regeneration only works if it is combined with social regeneration – the creation of real communities with the services including health and education needed to support them.
  1. Transportation:  Successful city’s underpinning is public transportation, whether bus, commuter train, light rail or streetcar. Public transit provides citizens with transportation choices. And, there has never been a better time for cities to build, improve or expand those systems.
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