Building on the momentum created by occasional co-op gatherings spearheaded by local cooperators Jocelyn Carver, Beryl Clayton, and Robert Agnew, the Kootenay Country Store Co-op sponsored a day of training and co-learning sessions for co-ops in May, 2007, in Nelson. One workshop session was called ” Forming a Regional Co-op Association”, and was attended by enthusiastic representatives from regional co-ops, as well as by the then Director of Co-op Development of the BC Co-op Association, Stephane Audet.
A steering committee was formed at this session to pursue the feasibility and development of a regional association. The committee included Vince Salvo, of the Slocan Valley Co-op, Bradley Roulston of the Nelson and District Credit Union, Deirdrie Lang of the Kootenay Country Store Co-op, Robert Agnew, a local co-op developer, Andrew Jarrett of the (since renamed) Kootenay Boundary Regional Resources Co-op, and Zoë Creighton, of Kootenay Co-op Radio.
The committee put forth a request for development support to the 2007 BCCA Annual General Meeting, which was unanimously accepted. The collaboration between BCCA and the emerging council thus began, with mutual input on the drafting of incorporation documents, setting up council structures, and, in September, 2007, Zoë Creighton was hired to coordinate the incorporation efforts, with funds provided by BCCA. A number of local co-ops and credit unions also provided development funding.
The Upper Columbia Co-op Council was incorporated on October 23, 2008, as a Community Service Co-op. Its first General Meeting was held on May 7, 2009, with delegates from all 12 member co-ops and credit unions in attendance. At this meeting, the new Board of Directors was acclaimed, and included previous steering committee members Andrew Jarrett, Dierdrie Lang, and Bradley Roulston, and welcomed Cindy Olivas from the Kootenay Bakery Café Cooperative, and Corky Evans from Heritage Credit Union.