Putting a value on municipal partnerships
By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily
Municipal partnerships have deepened friendships, goodwill and mutual understanding of other places around the world for Nelsonites; now the city has quantified it.
Only three partnerships with other national and international centres will be maintained at any one time, according to the new municipal partnership policy and administrative procedure adopted by City council Monday night.
Council put a limit on the number of partnerships they manage at one time, after a May 25, 2009 council request to review the status of current sister city or twinning relationships with the City of Nelson.
A City staff report found there were eight partnerships and twinning opportunities in effect, dissolved or pending with Nelson, including a sister city agreement with Izushi Friendship Society (Japan).
“This policy is overdue,” said Coun. Kim Charlesworth.
This will make it easier to move forward in our partnerships to see what it is about them that we do value before we sign on to them, she said.
Coun. Deb Kozak questioned putting a limit on the amount of partnerships, with one in Canada, one in the U.S. and one in a developing country. She felt it wasn’t necessary to quantify it.
But Coun. Donna Macdonald said the policy was written to have a broad mix of partnerships, but the number three wasn’t fixed in stone.
Coun. Bob Adams also thought limiting the number was superfluous. He said there were already two in the same country in Japan and it didn’t cost the City much money at all to retain them.
“I just wondered why it was so restrictive,” he said about the policy.
City manager Kevin Cormack said the City shouldn’t get into a number of partnerships just for the sake of getting its name on it.
“I guess quality over quantity and limit those relationships,” he said.
One of those partnerships the City now has was academic, said Coun. Macdonald, and it wasn’t based on a municipal government agreement. If the City was going to get into a municipal partnership they should make it meaningful, said Coun. Macdonald.
Although these are easy relationships to set up, said Mayor John Dooley, they do require a certain amount of staff time and resources to maintain.
“And I think that is why council needs to make that decision at budget time as to who to partner with,” said Cormack, adding that the new policy would give direction to City staff and other agencies on the benefits of any possible partnership.
The guideline was intended as a means with which to assess whether the proposed partnership was a suitable fit for the City, said a City staff report.
• current sister city agreement with Izushi Friendship Society (Japan).
• ongoing youth cultural exchanges with students visiting from Onagawa (Japan).
• sister city relationship with Mutare (Zimbabwe) from 1980-1990.
• India Rotary Group study exchange visit (2002).
• Nelson and Kaoma Alliance (Zambia) proposed partnership.
• Visit to Lozhou City in China in May, 1999 by Mayor to explore two projects considered for twinning. It did not transpire.
• French-Canadian relationships: Baie-St-Paul (Quebec), sister city relationship in effect until March, 2013; Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures (Quebec).
• Proposed relationships with municipalities in China using Federation of Canadian Municipalities funding. They did not happen.