More than 100 community leaders from across the Fraser Valley converged at Airside Event Spaces (30462 Liberator Ave.) in Abbotsford recently for a ground-breaking day of “rolling up their sleeves” to develop a roadmap intended to transform the region into a “Vibrant Community,” specifically one that thrives through connection.  Submitted photo

More than 100 community leaders from across the Fraser Valley converged at Airside Event Spaces (30462 Liberator Ave.) in Abbotsford recently for a ground-breaking day of “rolling up their sleeves” to develop a roadmap intended to transform the region into a “Vibrant Community,” specifically one that thrives through connection. Submitted photo

Fraser Valley community leaders come together to build a stronger more vibrant future

Event convened by Grant Thornton LLP and is part of the firm’s Vibrant Communities initiative

As everyone who lives in the Fraser Valley knows, the communities that make up this region are a source of pride for those who live here, and the envy of those who live elsewhere. From the natural beauty of our cities to our people and their dedication to building strong neighbourhoods, we have a lot to be proud of.

It was exactly that strength and pride that was on display recently during a day-long initiative that brought together more than 100 community leaders to collaborate and brainstorm about the future of the Fraser Valley. The group brought energy and enthusiasm to meaningful discussions around how to build on existing strengths to make the region even stronger. What resulted was nothing short of inspiring, with new connections being made among some participants, reconnections among others, and an overall collective drive and determination to build a stronger future.

Discussing and debating important topics such as poverty, diversity, inclusion, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, health care, immigration, tourism, and the arts, the group focused on action. As the day went on, the group placed particular priority on strengthening accessible and comprehensive transportation options for the region; improving access to mental-health support while improving intervention and education efforts; and leveraging the connections made to create a Fraser Valley Ambassador Group focused on collaboration and streamlining efforts to drive growth and change. The ideas discussed will feed into a roadmap to a brighter, more vibrant future – a future where the Fraser Valley is Canada’s most exciting place to live, work and play.

The attendees included representatives from non-profits, business leaders, and politicians, who collectively brought both passion and expertise to the table. Together they reflected on what makes this community so special and debated what the Fraser Valley can and should look like in 2025. With a focus on sustainability and prosperity, attendees identified concrete actions needed to make their bold vision a reality.

The event was convened by Grant Thornton LLP and is part of the firm’s Vibrant Communities initiative – an idea rooted in a commitment to bring community leaders together from all walks of life to think about what is possible. While the goal of the event was to facilitate discussion about the future of the community, the strength of the event was the willingness and conviction on the part of community leaders to collaborate in a meaningful way on critical issues and opportunities facing them.

In addition to local leaders, more than 60 Grant Thornton employees and local office members joined me in participating, including Kevin Ladner (executive partner and CEO) and Norm Raynard (regional managing partner for Western Canada.) The breadth of participation from the firm is a testament to how strongly we believe we have an opportunity and imperative to help our communities succeed, and our belief that everybody can make a difference.

Grant Thornton’s role in the Vibrant Communities initiatives is that of convener – igniting critical conversation and convening passionate minds. That role is one we take seriously. Following the success of this recent event, we will now focus our efforts on the next phase – one focused on driving the ideas forward and making them a reality.

Among all the take-aways from the day, I walked away inspired and encouraged by the commitment from those who participated, as well as their openness to learning new skills and growing through the process. With passionate community leaders like that at the helm, the future of Fraser Valley looks even brighter.

– Contributed by John Harris, Managing Partner South Coastal BC, Grant Thornton LLP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

Agassiz Fire Department has been called to an ATV rollover on Harrison East Forest Service Road on Sunday, April 18, 2021. (Google Maps)
Agassiz Fire called out to ATV rollover incident on Harrison FSR

Morning call follows exceptionally busy Saturday as temperatures soar in Fraser Valley

A Chilliwack Search and Rescue truck heads down Vedder Road towards Cultus Lake to assist a dirtbiker with a broken leg. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Emergency crews, SAR busy with three separate outdoor recreation incidents in Chilliwack area

Calls in 1 afternoon include ATV collision, parachuter who fell from tree, dirtbiker with broken leg

Chilliwack’s historic Royal Hotel is offering COVID-style wedding packages for two weeks in June. (Facebook/ Royal Hotel Chilliwack)
Chilliwack hotel offers pop-up, COVID-style weddings for 2 weeks this June

‘Weddings can still happen, albeit in a different fashion,’ says Laura Reid of Royal Hotel

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of April 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read