Published June 1, 2016
BY JENNIFER THURBIDE
A delegation of South American municipal leaders left the Red Lake District this week with a greater understanding of our economic, social and cultural realities after spending the weekend with area leaders.
From May 27-30 10 district mayors and economic officers from Peru and Columbia were in town as part of an exchange organized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Sustainable and Inclusive Communities in Latin America program.
“I don’t think there is a stone we didn’t turn over,” said Mayor Phil Vinet after the delegation left on May 30. “We did a mining tour and we did an extensive community tour. Most of our discussion centred on sustainability issues. How do we address things we do on a day to day basis. We spent a lot of time talking about economic factors such as tourism and showcasing businesses like tourist camps and airways.”
Along with visiting various assets and structures in the community, the delegation also met with community leaders from Red Lake and Lac Seul First Nation at a Special Council meeting held on May 27. Members of the Red Lake Pow-Wow committee conducted a welcome ceremony that included smudging and drum songs which was proceeded by presentations from Chief Clifford Bull, Lac Seul First Nation, Mayor Vinet, Northern Waterworks CAO Jason LeBlanc and Ken Anderson, owner of Anderson Electric.
On May 28 the delegation visited Goldcorp Red Lake Gold Mines and participated in a tour of the operation that included the Balmer Complex Level 42 shop, equipment and ore pass, the Campbell mill and tailings areas and engaged in a question and answer session about corporate social responsibility and environmental policies.
Through the Sustainable and Inclusive Communities in Latin America program (CISAL), FCM is working to mobilize Canadian municipal experts from resource communities to work with their counterparts in Colombia and Peru to find innovative solutions to help local governments build more sustainable and inclusive communities in areas where mining activity is taking place. The $20 million project has a mandate to operate for five years under Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.
Mayor Vinet says Red Lake has signed on to the exchange program for three years and he, along with CAO Mark Vermette, will be travelling to Columbia for the next stage of the exchange program in the fall.