This is the first instalment of a monthly council comment.
Using a question-and-answer format, all six councillors and the mayor will take turns responding to questions posed on an issue or story facing the city and its residents.
Starting with Mayor Greg Granstrom, the first column looks at the municipal twinning of Rossland with Surnadal Kommune, Norway, the home municipality of Olaus Jeldness, who was born in Stangvik and came to Rossland when he was 39 where he soon established competitive skiing in Western Canada.
Granstrom, his wife Nadine, and six members of the Spirit of Red are heading over to the city in the southwest Nordmore district of Norway, population 5,927, this week to seal the twinning deal, and present the municipal government of that country with a token of Rossland’s good faith.
1. How did the twinning idea come about?
The twinning idea was born when the delegation from Surnadal came here for Winter Carnival.
The thought of some type of a formalized relationship may well have been in the background in the Spirit of Red’s plans, the success of the visit of the Surnadal delegation and the welcoming warmth all of Rossland showed to our guests, prompted Surnadal to start their legislative process to formalize a relationship, this was to be completed May 8.
The Spirit of Red group of volunteers researched, raised the funds and did all the planning, contacting, organizing and devoting countless hours to their goal. It is very important to commend the Spirit of Red for their efforts.
The final product, Olaus Jeldness in all his splendour, as well the tremendous opportunity to showcase our city to another country, was accomplished by a total volunteer effort. This has gone perhaps beyond what the Spirit of Red envisioned. The Norwegian Consulate in Canada now has Olas statue photos on its website. We have the attention of many Norwegians.
2. Will the City of Rossland have to pay anything for this?
The delegation is made up of six Spirit of Red representatives, as well as my wife, Nadine, and I.
The delegation is travelling on our own “nickels; there is no cost to the City. It is very interesting to note that by booking flights early, airfare from Spokane to Oslo Norway return is $940.
A very talented local artisan, Mike Williams, has carved the City of Rossland coat of arms from a moose antler. This carving will be presented to Surnadal Kommune. This most unique item was purchased by the City.
3. What benefit will come to Rossland as a result of the twinning?
There already has been a recognition of how alike our two communities are.
We share a culture that is based on our physical environment. It is significant to note that we have a strong Norwegian presence in Rossland.
While any potential financial outcomes are difficult to quantify, it is significant to note that the economy of Norway is strong.
The Spirit of Red volunteers have put Rossland’s name front and centre in a country that many of us would never have thought of how much we share. Friends are a great way to spread good news.
4. What does your trip entail? For how long?
The group will spend two nights in Oslo, travel north to Surnadal (490 kilometres) and spend four days during their spring festival (Varsoghelga).
From there we will travel North to Trondhein where the group will split up and go in various directions.
Nadine and I will be renting a car and travelling north in Norway to Bodo a city above the Arctic circle over to Pitea, Sweden, my grandfather’s birthplace down the Swedish coast, a stay in Iceland and then home.
5. Will anyone from Surnadal be coming here?
I am certain we will have discussions when we get together in Surnadal as to any future visits.
6. Are there any plans for the future with the city?
Too early to tell.
7. Does the city have any other twinning agreements?
Rossland also is twinned with Moab, Colorado. We share a mountain bike culture.
8. Any other comments you would like to make about the twinning?
I would like to re-iterate that through the totally volunteer efforts of The Spirit of Red group another door has opened to showcase our community, and welcome our friends from Norway to enjoy what we have to offer.
Reciprocally, we have the opportunity to be welcomed to a very beautiful region that has a similar recreational culture set in a different geography.
Note: Surnadal Kommune is on Facebook. Rosslanders can send a greeting (“Happy Spring Festival, Varsoghelga”) to them on that site (www.facebook.com/surnadalkommune).