Made in Kelowna: Pushing the Boundaries With An Upside Down Town Hall
Written by Daylin Mantyka, Communications & Engagement Coordinator in our Kelowna office.
Over the past four months, Urban Systems will have brought you four community-focused events in support of the City’s #ImagineKelowna initiative. On Point, A Series of Upside Down Town Halls asked Okanagan residents to provide input on four key issues: housing and affordability, economic development, climate change, and transportation.
Leading up to the final #OnPointKelowna, we thought we’d circle back to some core themes.
What’s an Upside Down Town Hall?
By definition, a town hall is an informal public meeting open to all citizens and often held at a local municipal building where attendees generally present ideas, voice their opinions, and ask questions of public figures.
But what’s an Upside Down Town Hall and why are we shaking it up?
Let’s face it. Town halls can sometimes be… a little dry. But this stuff is supposed to be exciting! This is OUR city. OUR community. This is our opportunity to help shape the future of the very city we work, live, and play.
Envisioning our future should be fun and it should challenge our current way of thinking.
Poetry, music, art — We can push beyond our own biases and preconceived ideas through the Arts. These things aren’t typically found at a town hall. But they’re at OUR Upside Down Town Hall and they exist to open your hearts and minds for a better — and different — dialog.
We are Upside Down because our event is at the Laurel Packinghouse rather than city hall. We are Upside Down because of Erin Scott, humorous poet and crafty wordsmith. We are Upside Down because we had a rapper at a discussion on economic resilience. We are Upside Down because we are approaching city issues from different angles and using featured stories to ask the community to look at issues from a different perspective.
Made in Kelowna, by Kelowna
For each of the On Point Series, we hand-selected a panel of community members to sit on stage and speak to the subject at hand. In many cases, these were not experts, but community members like you and I.
A bit of a shift — yes. By design, these community members were highlighted to inspire conversation at your tables. Community envisioning is about imagining your community WITH your neighbours. Experts are great — but we want to hear from you.
Transportation – It’s Everywhere.
With the concept of the Upside Down Town Hall in mind, we’d like to invite you to the final On Point. The topic? Transportation. With this subject, we again, challenge you to think differently about how we get around. Instead of lamenting the bridge or our increasing congestion, let’s think about transportation as an enabler to a vibrant city.
We learned through you — our On Point community — that transportation, like our roads, is one of the connective elements to each of the issues presented at the first three On Point events. We talked about housing, you mentioned transportation. You talked about our economy, you mentioned transportation. We talked climate change, you mentioned transportation. It’s everywhere.
So please don’t hesitate in joining us for our last #OnPointKelowna where we link transportation to the creation of a vibrant city and where we hope you’ll ask, “What can I do to make us better?”
Doors open at 7 PM and the program begins at 7:30 PM. Coffee, tea, light snacks, and desert will be served. Beer, wine, and ciders will be available at the CASH ONLY bar.
Chad Kohalyk – Technology Program Manager
Probably the worst transportation Chad has ever been on is a 36 hour “bed bus” trip through the Taklamakan Desert in Chinese Turkestan. Luckily all the smoking on the bus blocked the smells of the chickens and goats. The best would be public transit in Japan, where he lived for almost a decade. Now he resides in Kelowna with his wife and two children, writing about never owning a car in his 38 years of life.
Joseph Hlady – Head of Sales, Engineering, Environment and Infrastructure at Civil Maps
With 15+ years of experience developing and commercialize geomatics and geospatial services, technology and solutions, Joseph has experience with nearly every facet of geomatics technology. Recently Joseph has grown his consulting business to include investment in and supporting the commercialization of start-ups in the geomatics industry. He is currently helping Civil Maps, an artificial intelligence company, commercialize their technology for the autonomous vehicle and engineering industries. Joseph is passionate about the future of autonomous vehicles and the lifesaving impact they will have on society.
Lisa McIntosh – Urban Harvest Organic Delivery
Lisa loves getting around on her own speed whenever possible. She has been known to haul kids/bikes/frozen organic chickens/mountains of library books/veggies (surprise!), and countless other items behind her bike, and she loves to walk/bus/carpool too. She tries to organize her life and business in such a way as to minimize driving as much as possible, for herself and others. She works most often from a home office, which is conveniently located 3 minutes (by bike) from her warehouse! In fact, it’s no accident that half of the Urban Harvest team live within a 4 km radius of the warehouse and cycle to work at least some of the time, with two of the further out folks carpooling on a daily basis.
To learn more about Urban Harvest Organic Delivery watch this short video:
Entertainment for the Evening
Erin Scott – Spoken Word Poet
Erin is a spoken word poet and playwright. She focuses on community art development, youth and female empowerment, and subversive humour. Her work has been published in Papershell, produced in InspiraTO and West Queens West Street Festivals, and in Ricepaper Magazine (December 2015).
Watch Erin’s wonderful performance from our last event titled, ‘Water is a Sadistic Stalker‘: