Introducing: On the Trails with Brent!

We’re excited to bring you a new monthly feature from our Executive Director. Introducing….On the Trails with Executive Director Brent Collingwood! 

The Annual General Meeting of the River Valley Alliance (RVA) this April marks the 15th anniversary of the existence of the RVA. We’ve come a long way in those 15 years!

Our longest-serving volunteer with the River Valley Alliance is Dennis Dembicki. He represents Fort Saskatchewan and will be retiring from our Board. Dennis has been a volunteer member of both our Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors for over 10 years. I recently sat down with Dennis to ask him about the changes he’s seen over his time with the RVA.

Brent: Dennis, tell us a little about your journey over time with the RVA.
Dennis: I first got involved in the late ‘80’s when a connected park system was simply a vision. At that time Bill Smith, Ray Rasmussen and Bruce Wilson were the people involved. I had to step back in the 90’s due to my work commitments, but then in 2004 became a member of the Board representing City of Fort Saskatchewan. I was involved in the hiring of our Executive Director and Project Management consultant and served on Advisory and Implementation Committees.

Brent: What would you consider the greatest accomplishment that you’ve witnessed around the Board table?
Dennis: For me there were three key accomplishments within my time: The creation of the Plan of Action that all municipalities agreed to, receiving $90 million from all levels of government to bring that plan to life, and our great work in stewarding the grant money to complete all our capital projects from 2012 to 2017.

Brent: What’s your take on the RVA’s future plans and goals?
Dennis: We’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go. The Plan of Action lives on, and securing grants from the Provincial and Federal governments will allow us top keep this momentum going. As I step back from my involvement and contribution to the RVA, I will be an avid user of the trails, walking with my grandkids.

Brent: If you could leave our readers with one message as you retire from the Board, what would it be?
Dennis: What we’re doing is building a legacy for generations to come. My message would be appreciate what we have in our pristine river valley, take advantage of the many trails, parks and amenities we have, and teach your children to the value the river valley brings to the region, so their children will grow to love it as well.