We caught up with Portage la Prairie City Councillor Terrie Porter on the last day of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) spring convention this past Thursday. She explains AMM does a fantastic job in providing leaders in the municipal government and the province a great opportunity to learn and share their best practices in governance and communications, setting them up for success. 

"They give us courses; ongoing courses. They also have sessions and stories on emerging municipal issues, such as, I'll give you an example, one that I went to yesterday was the invasive aquatic species in our waters. And that's your purple loosestrife, Asian carp, and zebra mussels. And that's quite a hot topic right now. It's about prevention and raising awareness. So, they bring up all kinds of topics -- different ones each time at a different conference -- that we might be interested in or that we ask for."

Porter notes she was personally interested in learning more about Shared Health. Discussions were made about hiring and retention.

"We got to hear from CEO Lanette Siragusa, who shared the importance of how health and the municipalities need to partner together, attract, and retain a workforce and also held great conversations and questions. The end result was that it's very important that all of us, including our community, our municipality, and our health, play our role on this to make this happen. It's one of the things that I found very refreshing because now we're talking about a partnership instead of just health or, you know, your city, or your school, or whatever. We're talking about partnerships and how we can make things better. And I think that's a really great step forward."

She adds their entire council was present as well as their CEO, noting it was a great team-building week to sit down with the RM and other communities to network. 

"That's important because we share these conversations and we exchange ideas and experience, and local issues are elevated to a provincial level; things that we're all starting to feel in our community, like crime, crime prevention, homelessness, and affordable housing. I can't thank AMM enough for hosting these events, supporting municipal government, and journeying through these challenging times. They're just really so important for setting us up for success. They listen to what we need and we learn from them. It's a win-win situation."

Porter says it wasn't so much about problem solving, but more of a week of gaining insight through discussion of issues and allowing the leaders to share their stories.

"It's been a really great learning experience that we wouldn't get if we didn't have AMM. So, that's how important it is for us. Then they even asked at the end, 'Is there any other topic you guys want to talk about?' or, things that you wouldn't even think about. I took the invasive aquatic species as one of my little sessions to learn something that I didn't know anything about, and I learned a lot about that and how important it is to keep that out of our waters."