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Sep 27

Union of BC Municipalities Convention 2013

Posted on September 27, 2013 at 9:31 AM by Nancy Cooper

Sunday September 15 – Friday September 20 2013
The value of the UBCM is found in its many speakers, resolutions, and discussions of issues with colleagues from other local governments.

My week started Sunday afternoon with a three hour Municipal Insurance Association (MIA) meeting. The MIA meetings continued all day Monday and well into the evening. The MIA Annual General meeting was held late Tuesday afternoon where the membership unanimously passed a resolution to include property insurance in the suite of products MIA provides to communities.  

I spent Tuesday morning at the Mid-size Communities seminar on Arts and Culture as economic drivers. As well as, a presentation entitled, The Creative Community - Creating Engaging Public Spaces where we were exposed to the concept of bringing business out into the community. The idea of low barriers allowing people to interact. We were shown examples of how opening up spaces and moving business to the sidewalk or plaza level encourages people to intermingle. Later we were thrilled by a presentation of the Castlegar Sculpture Walk initiative. If you want to be inspired, google Castlegar BC and see what this is all about.

The next speaker was Dr. Greg Halseth,  a Professor in the Geography Program at the University of Northern British Columbia, and the Canada Research Chair of Rural and Small Town Studies and Director of UNBC’s Community Development Institute. Dr. Halseth challenged us to rethink our assets, aspirations and our position in the global economy. He also encouraged us to form partnerships with other communities to share ideas and resources.

I attended two clinics on the RCMP Contract,  #1  How it is working and #2 The Economics of Policing in BC.

I met with the Minister of the Environment, along with CSRD Director Paul Demenok and Sicamous Mayor Darrell Trouton to discuss the next steps for the Shuswap Lake Integrated Planning Process.

Salmon Arm Council, CAO Carl Bannister, and MLA Greg Kyllo met with Minister of Lands Forests and Natural Resources asking them to complete, as they had done in the past,(or at least help with funding) a Flood Hazard Assessment as outlined in our Official Community Plan. They were very kind but basically said no.

Salmon Arm Council, CAO Carl Bannister and MLA Greg Kyllo met with the Minister of Transportation asking for replacement of the Salmon River Bridge. Again they were very kind but did not commit, at this time, to our request.

Salmon Arm Council, CAO Carl Bannister, MLA Greg Kyllo, Okanagan College Board Chair Tom Styffe, and EDS officer Lana Fitt met with Premier Clark, Minister of Agriculture, and Minister of Advanced Education to review and discuss the Downtown College Campus project. They were all very interested and asked several pointed questions as Lana updated them on the project and stated that we are currently working on property acquisition. Premier Clark and the Ministers were very understanding and appreciative of the project review. We felt good about the meeting but again no commitment was made on their part.

Policy and Resolutions session were held every day beginning Tuesday afternoon and ending Friday morning. During these sessions, the UBCM membership looked over more than a hundred resolutions with many robust discussions taking place. I have included a resolution of particular interest to many Salmon Arm residents.

 Resolution -   FLOOD MANAGEMENT
Submitted by : Columbia Shuswap RD        North Okanagan RD
WHEREAS the Province of British Columbia assumes incident command and provides on-site
response for wildland interface fires;

AND WHEREAS within the province of British Columbia there are a large number of waterways subject to periodic, sudden and extensive flooding;

AND WHEREAS overland flooding has potentially profound adverse consequences in terms of life safety, private and public property interests, economic prosperity and public infrastructure;

AND WHEREAS the Province of British Columbia is the steward of the water resources within the province;

AND WHEREAS local authorities lack the mandate, statutory jurisdiction, financial and technical resources, equipment and staff necessary to provide emergency site response, mitigation and flood remediation works:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province of British Columbia take immediate and direct responsibility for flood management including but not limited to:
• identification of flood related hazards;
• remediation of stream channels so as to mitigate future flooding;
• monitoring of stream flows and levels in waterways posing a risk to life, safety or property;
• responding to sudden cessation of stream flows or reports of debris dams;
• executing tactical evacuations when warranted; and
• communicating with the Emergency Operations Centre.



The Resolutions Committee notes that the UBCM membership has consistently endorsed resolutions regarding the need for increased funding to deal with emergency preparedness, such as flood protection measures – most recently 2007-A1; 2006-B18; 2006-B19; 2004-A11; 2004-B16; 2003-B21 and 2003-B82.
Conference decision:  Carried

Finally, I attended the Walrus Talks. Walrus Talks is simply a forum for conversation. The talks included five speakers on five very different subjects. I was challenged to think differently by all the speakers. I have scanned and attached the Walrus Talks flyer so you can see for yourself the diversity of subjects put forth in their speeches.

Overall I would rate this year’s UBCM a 10/10. I came home exhausted yet invigorated, thankful for the opportunity to meet and hear from knowledgeable presenters, participate in meetings with Premier Christy Clark and Provincial Ministers and take part in resolution debates.