Council puts support behind mining conference

In November, the East Kootenay Chamber of Mines is planning to hold a major conference in Cranbrook.

In November, the East Kootenay Chamber of Mines is planning to hold a major conference in Cranbrook and city council put its support behind it at last week’s regular meeting.

The support comes in the way of a $500 donation through the city’s contingency fund.

Mayor Lee Pratt said Cranbrook is at the centre of mining in B.C. right now with the number of minds in the area.

“If they want to host a conference here, it makes sense,” Pratt said. “I think for us, the amount of people in Cranbrook that are employed at the mines to start with and the money that it generates for our economy here, $500, I think, it is more of a good gesture by us and I would be embarrassed to say that we’re not going to support it and then see what the repercussions are going to be later on.”

Pratt said that could mean the conference going somewhere else.

“Then you lose $200 attendees and the economic spinoff of that,” he said. “So I would definitely be in support of that.”

Coun. Danielle Cardozo agreed.

“From Cranbrook alone we have 500 individuals who drive out to the Teck mines and that’s a relationship that we want to continue to build,” Cardozo said. “I know that corporations such as  Teck and others have supported this quite well and for us to contribute a small amount I think is fair.”

Cardozo noted that the contingency is still at healthy amount for this time of year.

Jason Jacob, president of East Kootenay Chamber of Mines, sent a letter to council noting that the organization is proud to be hosting the Minerals South 2015 Mining Conference, which is planned for Nov. 3-5, 2015. The conference will bring in 200 attendees from across Canada, Jacob wrote.

“As an organization East Kootenay Chamber of Mines works collaboratively with many businesses and industry leaders to host an information packed conference that features technical talks, a short course, elementary school program and a trade show featuring industry innovators and suppliers,” said Jabob in the letter.

Initially, Coun. Ron Popoff had concerns about council donating money from the contingency fund.

“I know as a corporation we should be encouraging meetings to take place in our great city of Cranbrook,” Popoff said. “My heartfelt idea of a contingency fund is it should be going to a hockey team that just found out they’re going to a tournament and didn’t have that kind of money in place to successfully go to the tournament.”

Popoff noted that the city is looking at what the means test for contingency funding should be.

He said while he wants to see support for initiatives like this, he hopes it doesn’t come at the expense of a little league team.

Coun. Wesly Graham suggested that the best exposure for council would be to use the $500 to do the End of Day Function and sponsor the hors d’oeuvres.

“If it’s not taken,” Graham said. “I’m just throwing it out there.”

CAO Wayne Staudt said city staff would check into it.

All seven members of council were in favour.