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I attended the UBCM Convention which was held in Vancouver from September 25 – 29
The first meeting I attended was the Mayors Caucus meeting which was on Monday.
We were welcomed by the Chair of the Mayors Caucus, Nils Jensen Mayor of Oak Bay, he reviewed the Agenda, we were then welcomed by the UBCM 1st Vice President Wendy Booth, she is from the Regional District of East Kootenay.
We then had a panel presentation on “ code of conduct- tools or traps- a Mayors guide to preventing and addressing behaviour at the table. After the presentation we went into groups to discuss the issues.
The Honourable Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing then addressed us. She welcomed us on behalf of Premier Horgan to the UBCM meetings. In her speech to us she addressed many topics including the funding for Sports and Playground infrastructure. Council will be discussing our Nimpkish revitalization project.
This was only the 5th year of the Mayors Caucus, and it was decided that we will continue to meet twice a year, in the Spring and at the UBCM meetings.
The BC Mayors Caucus purpose is to:
Share information on common issues, and innovative policies and solutions
Collaborate with UBCM on determining Province wide municipal priorities and potential solutions on common issues
Advocate issues with UBCM to the Provincial and Federal Governments, and make statements to the media in collaboration with UBCM from time to time
The last item on the Agenda was deciding where the Spring meeting would be held, in which Oak Bay was selected.
UBCM 2017 Convention Report
On Tuesday September 26th I did a presentation to all the small communities (Population under 5000) during the Small Talk Forum. The presentation subject was Cell Service for rural communities and isolated highways. There were about 400 Mayors, Councillors in attendance. There was also representatives from Telus in attendance, in which i had a conversation with later on that morning.
Some of the other discussions that other Communities brought forward were, Microcell transmitter placement, Provincial and Federal downloading, Ministers visiting smaller Villages, Ambulance Services and Paramedics, Assisted Living, BC Timber Sales, Rural and Remote School Funding, and OCP Consultation Process.
We also had Special Presentations on, Financial Housekeeping, Communication in the Age of Social Media, Building Inspection Services and By Law Enforcement, and Wildfire Preparedness.
We then heard from The Honorable Selina Robinson Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Councillors Begon, Waterman and I then attended the Small Communities Luncheon.
After the lunch break we met up with our CAO and proceeded to our meeting with the Deputy Commissioner of the RCMP Brenda Butterworth-Carr and some of her Staff. Our discussion topics included Road safety- Highway 28, lack of cell service in Emergency situations, Financial/ time resources spent on mental health patients that local resources are limited to provide care/assistance. She was very appreciative of our issues. We also brought up the appreciation we have for Sgt. McGee and his Staff for the dedicated work they do for our Village.
We all then headed to our next meeting which was with the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, the Honorable Doug Donaldson.
Our discussions with the Minister included, retaining a Community Forest License and retaining a Joint Management agreement with the MMFN for Antler/Scout Lake. There is a lot of work to do on these issues and they asked for some time to look into them.
We had a small break before Larry and I headed to the Municipal Insurance Association Annual general meeting. The MIA is our Village Insurance provider.
We started Wednesday by attending the Business sessions in the morning, and we heard from the In term Leader of the Liberal Party Rich Coleman.
We met with BC Hydro in the afternoon they updated us on their project, the power line from the Village to the Waterfront (Municipal Wharf Facility). The clearing of brush will begin in the next few weeks with the project finishing by the end of March 2018. We discussed the possibility of running power to the Village Campsite, they were in favour of looking into the possibility, and we (Council) will look into the costs attached to this.
Thursday morning we attended more of the business sessions of the UBCM, resolutions.
We were fortunate to meet up with our MLA the Honorable Claire Trevena Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Wednesday night at the CUPE reception, we discussed that we were not able to set up a meeting with her, she looked at her schedule for Thursday, the only time available was noon, so we decided that we would make that work. In our meeting we discussed Highway 28 conditions including getting the lines painted, Cell Service within the Village, Highway 28, Tzxanna, ( I gave her a copy of my presentation at the Small Talk Forum) Sighnage at the entrance of town stating Road conditions on the Highway, condition of the main road in town going to the Municipal Wharf, and an Assisted Care facility. We realize this was a huge list, her staff will look into everything and we plan on meeting either late the fall or early next year.
In the afternoon we had a meeting with the Minister of Citizens Services, the Honorable Jinny Sims.
We discussed the Federal and Provincial Governments support programs for High Speed Internet but we feel Cell Phone coverage is just as important to remote communities/isolated highways. This is important to Tourism, small Business, community livability and safety. Telus has fulfilled its cellular expansion obligation under the Connect BC Agreement but we believe an expansion of the program is needed.
The Minister was well aware of our Highway, as she was once the BCTF President and has been to Gold River. She was well informed of the previous contract with the BC Govt. and Telus. We discussed future discussions that we will have to have and the partners that must be included.
We were back at it early Friday morning to resolutions. There was a late resolution put on the Agenda regarding Fish Farming. The North Island Mayors and other Mayors of the AVICC had some discussions regarding this very important issue. As this issue was not discussed by the AVICC members we thought it must go to the next AVICC meeting to discuss. Therefore we put forward a motion of “ not to admit the resolution for debate” which was passed. There were only a couple more resolutions to deal wth.
As usual the last speaker of the convention is from the Premier,
Premier John Horgan addressed us with his speech, spoke of some of the Provinces most important issues, which included Homelessness, Drug issues, and the rebuilding of everyone affected by the fires this year. He promised he will work with every community in B.C.
I look forward in working with our Council, Staff and the Ministers in the coming year,