CBT symposium exceeds expectations

Great attendance, inspiring speakers at Kimberley-hosted event

Shred Kelly live in the Platzl as part of the Columbia Basin Trust evening of culture and entertainment this past Saturday (Arrow and Axe file).

Shred Kelly live in the Platzl as part of the Columbia Basin Trust evening of culture and entertainment this past Saturday (Arrow and Axe file).

The Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) Symposium took place this past weekend at the Kimberley Conference Centre. Canadian Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield was the keynote speaker. There were many other presenters over the course of the weekend as well, and an evening of live entertainment that, despite the cold weather, packed the Platzl full.

As Mayor Don McCormick said, in a Facebook post, the theme for the CBT Symposium was ‘Shift: Thriving in Change.’

“Shift as in pivot, doing things differently to ensure a thriving and sustainable community,” said McCormick. “We need to embrace new ways of doing things if we are going to maintain the amazing lifestyle we have here. The speakers were first class and the topics spot on.”

“This weekend also celebrated Columbia Basin culture, business and entertainment – as the entire community got to see last night [Saturday]. Downtown did indeed ROCK! But it was also a celebration of the Trust itself. Everything takes money; and we are so fortunate to have the Columbia Basin Trust to help move our communities forward,” said McCormick.

CBT President and CEO, Johnny Strilaeff says that the symposium was a huge success.

“[It] exceeded our expectations for attendance and engagement,” said Strilaeff.

“People told us throughout the weekend and in the days following, how impressed they were with the calibre of speakers and presenters, and how inspired they are to make a shift and take action in their own lives and communities.”

Strilaeff explained that this symposium was the largest ever, with 420 attendees.

“It was wonderful to be able to host so many people at the Kimberley Convention Centre which was an amazing facility for this event,” he said. “We were pleased to also extend the benefits of this event in a couple other ways, including providing a lifestream feed of the sessions, and making Col. Chris Hadfield available to deliver a special presentation to youth in Cranbrook around the Basin (via lifestream) in addition to his keynote address at the symposium. We will also make all the speaker presentations and videos available online soon.”

“Certainly the highlight for many was the keynote speaker, Col. Chris Hadfield. I believe his inspirational address about setting audacious goals, living without fear and that even the sky isn’t the limit, really influenced the rest of the symposium. It was a great way to kick off the weekend,” said Strilaeff. “Attendees were impressed with the caliber of speakers that shared their expertise in demographics, technology and climate change and appreciated the many presenters we brought from around the region to showcase how people and communities are thriving in change right here in our own backyards.”

The symposium closed with Tom Rand, the climate change keynote.

“It was clear that people were moved by his presentation,” Strilaeff said. “I think people left the symposium inspired, informed and ready to take action. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”

On Saturday night the CBT held an evening of Basin culture and entertainment in the Platzl. Strilaeff says that once again, the turnout exceeded expectations.

“It was a chilly evening, but Kimberley residents (from the wee ones to the elderly) showed us they were up for it, completely filling the Platzl – amazing!” said Strilaeff. “It was wonderful to showcase the incredible talent we have in this region from the vendors in the farmers market, to the local breweries and cuisine, and then dancing it up with entertainers like Shred Kelly. Kimberley was a terrific host community and everyone was so easy to work with and excited to make this a great event – thank you!”

In terms of what is up next for the CBT, Strilaeff says that the Trust is committed to bringing people together about every three years, so the next symposium is planned for the year 2020, which is the 25th anniversary for the CBT.