Roly Russell supports rural Boundary

To support his region's sustainability, Roly Russell must consider the intangible as well as the quantifiable

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Roly (Roland) Russell, Ph.D., is the elected representative for Area D in the Regional District of Kootenay-Boundary He also sits on a variety of boards for local organizations.

Roly (Roland) Russell, Ph.D., is the elected representative for Area D in the Regional District of Kootenay-Boundary. He also sits on a variety of boards for local organizations. — Randy Ball Photography photo

As the elected representative for Area D in the Regional District of Kootenay-Boundary and a director for the local credit union, Roly Russell, Ph.D., is certainly in a position to influence his community. It comes naturally to him to support development of the community in a holistic sense and to find ways to help move the community in a positive direction.

“I chair the Boundary Economic Development Committee, which represents all of the Boundary communities,” Russell said. “One of my most stimulating and challenging issues is trying to figure out how to design a local/regional economic development system that really works. Probably the wall that I run into most often is trying to figure out how to communicate the intangible aspects of decision making that matter for that process.”

Infrastructure, capital projects and jobs are important, certainly, but there’s more to a community’s sustainability than these quantifiable components.

“Particularly with an eye to vibrant, thriving community development, quality of life is really what we’re after,” said Russell. “That really matters to people. Ideas from philosophy can help guide our path to get there. We tend to focus on outcomes when the process itself may be equally or even more important. Beyond that, the intent of the people around the table also becomes critical for having a constructive conversation.”

Russell’s background in the science of complex systems helps him to keep the big picture in mind, balancing perspectives while working to address immediate issues for his constituents in rural Grand Forks. He also serves on the executive of the Association of Kootenay-Boundary Local Governments and the Regional Hospital District.

Marie Milner

Marie Milner is a writer and photographer for Kootenay Business magazine and several other publications. She appreciates the inspiration that she gets during her interviews and hopes to share that inspiration with you. View all of Marie Milner’s articles

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