The 60th Annual AAOM Professional Development Conference was held May 4th and 5th, 2016 at the Best Western Plus Winnipeg Airport Hotel (Greenwood Conference Centre) on Wellington Avenue.
The theme of the 2016 Conference was The Changing Landscape of Assessment 1956 – 2016. Seventy-five delegates registered for the two days.
Day One – Opening Ceremonies
On Wednesday, May 4th, Registration began at 8:00 a.m. and included a continental breakfast to welcome the delegates. The Opening Ceremonies followed at 8:30 a.m. with AAOM President Michael Cortvriendt as the master of ceremonies.
Sister Association Representatives John Lindsay (Alberta Assessors’ Association — AAA), Chandra Reilly (Saskatchewan Assessment Appraisers Association — SAAA), and Pete Rodda (International Association of Assessment Officers — IAAO) brought greetings on behalf of their Associations.
(Greg Baxter, the representative from Institute of Municipal Assessors (Ontario), was unfortunately unable to attend).
Lloyd Funk, the Provincial Municipal Assessor, from the newly named Manitoba Indigenous and Municipal Relations, and Mel Chambers, City Assessor/Director of Assessment from the City of Winnipeg Assessment & Taxation Department engaged in a question and answer session on various aspects of “the job”, as well as answering a couple of questions on one of their favorite pastimes, golf!
After the Opening Ceremonies, the first Seminar began and was conducted by Pete Rodda, from IAAO.
Pete’s discussion included the benefits and pitfalls of assessing personal property in Roper, North Carolina, where he is the Chowan County Tax Assessor/Collector. Though not relevant to the way assessments are conducted in Manitoba, it was a very interesting and engaging presentation.
Annual General Meeting
The delegates then took a networking break and at 11:00 a.m. gathered for the Annual General Meeting. The AGM was facilitated by President Michael Cortvriendt.
After going through the annual report with the members, Michael turned the next item on the Agenda – the 2016 – 17 Elections for the Secretary-Treasurer position and five director positions –over to Erin Reid, current Past President of the Association.
Michael Taylor was once again elected to the position of Secretary-Treasurer for the next 2 years; and Jan Trochim, Shirley Bomak, Marc Connelly, Kevin Brite (who was on vacation so unable to attend the AGM), were returned for another year as Directors on the AAOM Executive Council. Jennifer Martens from the City Assessment Department was nominated and elected to the fifth Director position for the 2016 – 17 term.
Erin welcomed the “new” Executive for the 2016 – 17 term (Michael, Mirek, Mike, Erin, Marc, Jan, Shirley, Kevin, and Jennifer) and thanked the outgoing Director for service on Council for the past seven years.
Education Chair Mike Taylor presented AAM Certificates to six newly Accredited Assessors: Valene Bertrand, Amanda Evans, Dariga Aidarkhanova, Jason Brown, Kem Wong, (and Lindsay Wareham, not shown).
Certificates to those AAM members who had 20 recertification credits as at December 31, 2015 and were therefore recertified in the AAM designation were made by Recertification Board Chair Shirley Bomak. Names of all the recipients are listed in the Annual Report.
The AGM was followed by a delicious buffet Lunch. A draw for a $60.00 Keg Gift Card was made and the winner was Kris Hardman from the City Assessment & Taxation Department.
Afternoon Seminar sessions began at 1:00 p.m. with Debbie Pieterse, Senior Appraiser/Owner of Prairie Sky Appraisal & Consulting Services; Debbie is a former Assessor and District Supervisor from the Dauphin Provincial Assessment Services office. Deb discussed the current farm land trends of rural Manitoba.
Martin McGarry followed; Mr. McGarry is part of a group who purchased Stevenson Real Estate Services and Cushman & Wakefield Winnipeg. Today the group manages over 3 million sq. ft. of commercial property and over 5,000 condo units. Martin provided a commercial market update on industrial, retail and office space in the City of Winnipeg.
Chris Henderson, Executive Director of the Treaty Land Entitlement Committee, spoke next — on opportunities for partnerships between first nations and municipal government in Manitoba through the Treaty Land Entitlement Process.
After the Seminars ended for the day, a Reception to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the AAOM took place from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Hotel. After the Reception some of the Conference Delegates went back to the Hospitality Room to continue “networking”.
At 8:00 a.m. on Thursday May 5th, a Continental breakfast similar to the day before was available to the delegates prior to the first Seminar presentation of the day which began at 8:30 a.m.
Braden Batch, CMHC Senior Market Analyst, was up first. He based his discussion on economic and demographic trends that drive the housing market along with the differences across Manitoba’s smaller centers.
Nelson Karpa, City Assessor for the City of Calgary, is the former Director of Assessment and Taxation for the City of Winnipeg. Nelson compared the similarities along with the differences between the assessing function in Winnipeg versus Calgary.
Jeff Palmer holds degrees in economics and city planning and is a partner with Catapult Community Planning. Jeff’s Seminar was entitled the Do’s and Don’ts of Downtown Revitalization and focused on various revitalization projects that have taken place over the years in the City of Winnipeg.
Jeremy Sewell, GIS Specialist with the Community and Regional Planning Branch of the Department of Municipal Government presented a Seminar on how GIS is used for site analysis and illustrated some visual examples.
The morning Seminars were followed by lunch – a burger buffet, specifically requested by 2 of the 4 M’s on the AAOM Executive. (Can you guess who they are?)
A couple of draws were then made — another Keg Gift Card in the amount of $60.00 was won by Dutchin Ramsewak.
Because there was a four way tie in the Changing Landscapes Contest, a draw was also made to choose the winner. Kem Wong was presented with a $20 Tim Horton’s Gift Card for providing all the right answers in the Contest. Thanks to Greg Petzold for setting it up and checking the answer sheets to find the winner(s).
After lunch, the afternoon session began with Nicholas Ruta, an Accredited Assessor with the City of Winnipeg Assessment & Taxation Department, who shared a synopsis and interactive analysis of the City owned distressed Carnegie Library.
Jean Klassen, a Property Developer with Schinkel Properties and a former assessor with the Province of Manitoba, followed at 3:00 p.m. Her Seminar focused on the valuation of rural land throughout the various stages of development.
Land Development Panel Discussion
After a Networking Break, the Land Development Panel Discussion began with Jean sharing her opinion from a developer’s perspective along with Stephen Walker, Regional Manager of Steinbach Community and Regional Planning Office of Manitoba Municipal Government, who expressed his opinions from a planner’s perspective; and Brent Bellamy, architect and public advocate for sustainable city-building and human focused design who shared his opinions from an architect’s perspective.
End of Conference
The end of conference prizes for those in attendance went to Jason Brown (box of Morden chocolates) and Brian Dupuis (Sunday brunch sponsored by the Best Western Plus).
Thanks to sponsors IMA (Institute of Municipal Assessors — Ontario) who donated $500 towards the Continental Breakfast enjoyed by the delegates on Wednesday and Thursday mornings and Bernie McMullan who sponsored a coffee break at the Conference this year with a donation of $250.
Many thanks to Ryan Valderama for taking all the Conference photos that appear in this report and elsewhere in the News Blast.
The Best Western Plus Hotel staff were very accommodating and the delegates found the two days to be very enjoyable as well as educational.
Thank you to all who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend!
–Submitted by Conference Coordinators Jan Trochim and Marc Connelly, and Carol Lyons (Contributor)