UBCM meetings offer chance to share ideas

“...if we could zero down from 140 resolutions to 10 good ones then we could focus on pushing those forward.” - Bert Crockett

After the annual meeting of the province’s municipal leaders, the question remains – will any of the passed resolutions actually make a difference to communities across B.C.?

More than 140 resolutions that covered all aspects of municipal business were volleyed back and forth during the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) in Whistler last week, although the province’s responses will not be released until spring 2015.

It’s not whether or not a motion floats during the convention, the point is that the discussion is on the table, and the networking of like-minds can lead to solutions in communities across B.C., says Bert Crockett, a member of Warfield’s government for 12 years.

But there’s room for improvement on getting ideas from the UBCM floor to the ears in B.C.’s government.

“There’s a lot of resolutions but most get defeated,” said Crockett. “The government looks at whatever ones suit their needs. Good ones come up and some are far fetching,” he continued. “But if we could zero down from 140 resolutions to 10 good ones then we could focus on pushing those forward.”

While the soon-to-retire mayor spent most of week with the Highway 3 Coalition of the Mayors or in the Mayor’s Caucus talks that included roundtable on aging infrastructure, the ad hoc provincial granting process and a full review of the ambulance services, he maintains that the UBCM opens the door to learn ways that other communities outside the West Kootenay region have dealt with issues that impact taxpayers, such as regional sewer service costs.

“It’s a way to network and get into conversations rather than arguments,” he added. “About issues in everybody’s community, and meet with people who can get you in the right direction.”

While Crockett awaits UBCM reports from Warfield councillors when they reconvene Oct. 14, he conceded that annual conferences aren’t always seen as valuable learning opportunities.

“These are the places you can captivate an audience and bring something back that will be useful locally,” he said. “Because are lucky to live in the West Kootenay but we are living in a bubble and don’t always see the bigger picture of issues these other areas are dealing with.”

The City of Trail sent four councillors to take in five days of resolutions along with Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs’ itinerary which involved the Mayors Caucus and meetings with government officials.

He focused on discussion about the federal and provincial governments’ increased downloading of social service costs to small communities and the ever popular aging infrastructure conversations.

Additionally, Bogs and council met with Minister Coralee Oakes for an update about the proposed City of Trail municipal boundary extension that includes the regional district’s industrial tax base.

“The Ministry agreed to come to our area in January,” said Bogs. “This is good news because in some way they will be involved in the mitigation process, but we aren’t sure how yet.”

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) brought a resolution to the UBCM asking for a province to review its boundary expansion process to include a voter assent by referendum.

The resolution was endorsed during a block of afternoon resolutions, but was not individually discussed, confirmed Trail Coun. Sean Mackinlay.

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