By Kevin Nimmock

Pioneer Staff

Attention writers, the BC Chamber of Commerce has opened up a new article contest, which the local Chamber is promoting, that offers participants the chance to win $10,000. For the Rurals & Urbans Contest, organizers elected to go with a theme that bridges the gap between rural and urban life in B.C., to understand how the two populations currently support each other and can better organize in the future.

The main question prospective participants are being asked to address is: How can the diminishing rural population continue to sustain urban B.C.?

Susan Clovechok, the executive director of the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce, said many people in this region often do not think about how the local resource-based economy fuels urban parts of the province.

It is actually a really good theme, because it is really thought-provoking as to how we really function, she said. What does mining do to support the urban lifestyle? What does forestry do for the economy of urban centres?

She preached the importance of the contest helping community members understand the importance of maintaining strong rural economies.

The urban centres are great and they are growing our population, but because of the production of food, mining and forestry, our rural communities have to be healthy and strong in order to support the entire economy of British Columbia, Mrs. Clovechok said.

The BC Chamber of Commerce will choose one winner from each of the provinces regions. One overall winner will be awarded the grand prize of $10,000, the second place participant will receive $5,000, five other participants will earn $1,000 and ten runners-up will be awarded $100.

On April 24th, Mrs. Clovechok represented the East Kootenay at the first-ever meeting of the new Rural Advisory Council in Victoria. Like the contest, the council represents a way to allow rural British Columbian communities to express their opinions and anchor change towards policy.

That first meeting was really about laying the groundwork for how we are going to work together, Mrs. Clovechok said. Our next meeting is in June and I think we will be getting more into the meat of it, moving forward and looking at the rural issues that affect development.

She said that improving economic circumstances in rural B.C. is a delicate balancing act, which requires keen attention to making changes that do not change everything.

We have got to move forward, we have got to progress, Mrs. Clovechok said, but how do we keep up the lifestyle… the reason we all live in rural British Columbia? How do we maintain that as we move forward and grow in a sustainable way? Those are the questions we will address.

To enter, visit