Alexander to present at
international peace conference
Blaine resident Christina Alexander will be one of several delegates for peace invited to speak at the first international conference on peace parks scheduled September 9 through 12 in the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park straddling the border between Alberta and Montana.
The conference, Peace, Parks and Partnerships, will discuss trends, experiences, and best practices for peace parks and transboundary protected areas. The title of Alexander’s presentation is Peace Monuments and Parks: Preserving The Heritage in a Changing World Situation, and will provide an overview of the history of Peace Arch International Park, and is based on the document submitted by the U.S./Canada Peace Anniversary Association to the U.S. General Services Agency and the city of Blaine.
“This is a very important conference to attend on behalf of the Peace Arch and the community,” she said. “Its subjects cover everything from transboundary management, protection, tourism, preservation and governance.”
Park officials say they expect as many as 200 peace park professionals from Canada, the United States, and approximately 20 other countries to participate.
Alexander had applied for funding from Blaine’s Tourism Advisory Committee (BTAC) but was not able to receive those funds. According the city’s web site, the committee provides funds to projects that promote increasing visitors to the city of Blaine.
Additionally, the city’s tourism marketing and development plan repeatedly cites the park’s international sculpture exhibit as a viable tourism attraction for the city. Several committee members liked the idea, but the project was ultimately denied funding after city manager Gary Tomsic said it didn’t meet the criteria.
“We have determined that the expense is not allowed for tourism tax use,” he said in an email. “The tourism tax is specifically meant to be used for marketing and advertising. Travel to a conference to make a presentation by a private citizen is very questionable activity to be supported by these funds.”
Alexander said she wasn’t convinced. “Why can’t I be covered as a so-called representative or delegate?” she wrote in an email. “If the money is supposed to only be used to advertise or promote Blaine, is not our participation in the conference promoting Blaine?”
In the mean time, she said the group is looking for donations to cover travel expenses, admission, airfare and hotel accommodations to reach their goal of $1,600.
The Blaine Tourism Advisory Committee (BTAC) generally meets at 7:30 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the Blaine city council chambers.