Ideas festival provides city overview

JASON HEWLETT / Kamloops Daily News
January 13, 2013 01:00 AM

From the state of seniors to how people can better arm themselves against crime, those who attended the city's first ideas festival heard a broad overview of what is happening in Kamloops.

More than 100 people gathered in the Irving Barber Centre at Thompson Rivers University on Saturday for the event, which was organized by Coun. Arjun Singh.

The three-hour think-tank began with seven "lighting talks" by a variety of community members. Singh said the three-minute presentations were intended to give people a taste of what's going on in town.

Lynn Burrows of Kamloops and District Seniors Outreach Society provided a snapshot of the elderly population, saying some of the statistics are unnerving.

She said the average senior is 75 years old and 74 per cent of this group has an annual income of less than $19,000. The average cost of the living in the city is about $20,000 a year.

"You can see where there's a shortfall," said Burrows.

She said 45 per cent of these seniors don't have enough support to live independently.

"There's a lot of work that needs to be done with seniors in Kamloops," she said.

Burrows said the society networks with other community groups to provide aid for seniors in need.

Peter Mutrie, former manager of the North Shore Business Improvement Association, spoke about crime prevention by design. He said neighbourhoods can protect themselves through physical and personal ways.

Improved lighting and building curbs and sidewalks will reduce thefts and accidents in neighbourhoods, he said. And if people connect with one another, it builds a stronger, more caring society.

Mutrie encouraged residents to engage in the upcoming community planning process and help build a Kamloops they'd like to see.

"We're all in this together," he said.

Other speakers highlighted upcoming events such as the arts-themed Thrive Festival and the Legacy Performance Games, both of which take place in June.

Then the crowd broke into smaller groups to discuss a variety of subjects. Singh also asked what Kamloops at its best would look like in 2023 and what components make up an amazing transportation network.

Those at the festival also learned the Boys and Girls Club of Canada's national youth conference is coming to Kamloops in May.

Councillors Tina Lange, Donovan Cavers and Nancy Bepple were in attendance, along with representatives from the RCMP, B.C. Sustainable Energy Association and Changing the Face of Poverty.

© Copyright 2015 Kamloops Daily News

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