Municipal politicians set to gather at annual convention

Some local municipal politicians are gearing up for the week-long gathering of civic officials in Vancouver.

With the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conference beginning Monday some of the local municipal politicians are gearing up for the week-long gathering of civic officials in Vancouver.

The annual UBCM attracts representatives from 162 municipalities, four First Nations, 29 regional districts, and 23 hospital districts from around the province.

There are 155 resolutions to be read through and voted on in Vancouver and one major policy paper on local government finance to be considered during the conference.

The City of Trail has one resolution on the books regarding provincial funding of social service and housing programs in B.C.

All of Trail’s city council, with the exception of Coun. Eleanor Gattafoni-Robinson, will be attending the UBCM this year with Coun. Gord DeRosa scheduled to receive his 25-year service medal, an honour received by Mayor Dieter Boggs last year.

In a prepared statement, Boggs listed a number of different information sessions and keynote speakers that Trail councillors were hoping to take in over the week of attending the conference including; effective citizen engagement, enhancing local government collaboration, and avoiding personal liability.

Boggs also noted the importance of taking part in discussion on the UBCM resolutions as resolutions that area successfully passed by the conference attendees have the potential to change provincial legislation.

The City of Rossland will be presenting resolutions on forming a joint task force on school funding and creative school solutions, reflecting issues that have consumed considerable public attention over the past 12 months in the town.

Although the Village of Fruitvale doesn’t have any official resolutions to present at the UBCM, Mayor Patricia Cecchini, is anticipating an extremely busy week.

“I’ve got a very busy schedule starting the Sunday night before the conference when we’ll be meeting with the Highway 3B group,” Cecchini said. “There’s the mayor’s caucus, the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments, and the MIA (Municipal Insurance Association).”

Cecchini said she thinks the conference is an important opportunity, especially for representatives from smaller population centres like the small villages and towns in the West Kootenay.

“It’s extremely worthwhile, it’s one opportunity to have our voices heard,” she said. “I’m hoping to meet with minister Oakes (Community, Sport, and Cultural Development) with RDKB Director Ali Grieve and Joe Danchuk (Mayor of Montrose) to discuss our opposition to the City of Trail’s boundary expansion. The province will be making the final decision on that and we need to state our position.”

While the Village of Warfield doesn’t have any specific resolutions to present at the conference it will be taking part in a variety of meetings while representatives are there.

“We have four of the five councillors going to the conference but the mayor won’t be attending this year,” said Vince Morelli, the village’s chief administrative officer. “There are no particular items they’ll be addressing but they’ve been invited to a number of meetings, including the Highway 3B meeting with the minister (of Transportation and Infrastructure).”

Salmo Mayor Ann Henderson won’t be taking in the various political meetings during the conference as she’ll be spending her time working on the regional, Kootenay Country, tourism promotion booth at the municipal trade fair that takes place in conjunction with the UBCM every year.

She said that Salmo village councillor, Janine Haughton will be representing their community at the gathering instead.

“There are two issues we’re particularly interested in this year,” said Henderson. “There will be discussion on flood protection and dykes, which is an issue we’re concerned about and we’re also concerned about changes to recycling regulations as well.”

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