Every year delegates from all municipalities and regional districts in British Columbia meet to discuss issues of common concern. Resolutions are brought forward and their merits debated before being passed on to the provincial government for further consideration. Workshops are offered to educate local politicians on a variety of issues and updates on new rules and regulations are provided.
This year’s theme of the conference was ‘In Conversation’, a reflection of the new age of communication through a variety of media and how to connect with the next generation using this new technology.
Monday, September 24, the B.C. Mayor’s Caucus, an all day conference, gave opportunity to 140 mayors from around the province to talk about priority issues. The new federal long term infrastructure program (LTIP) and escalating local government expenses were two of the most pressing topics discussed. In support of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities the mayors caucus released the following statement:
“We agree that our communities require immediate action to provide stable, predictable, long term infrastructure funding from federal and provincial government, to meet municipal needs as defined by each community’s priorities.
This statement affirms and complements the efforts of UBCM and FCM to address the infrastructure needs of communities to ensure social, economic and environmental well-being”
Tuesday, September 25, networking activities and the “Small Talk Forum” provided a chance to talk with representatives from other small communities about common problems. Some of the leading concerns included health care, water, sewer, public transportation and sustainability of services.
Wednesday, September 26, the conference started with reports, workshops and clinics as well as the resolution process and the election of the new UBCM board of directors. A panel of cabinet ministers was also available for a direct dialogue.
Some of the presentations on Wednesday and Thursday included topics on:
• Climate change
• Community charter
• Economic development
• Emergency measures
• Small water systems
• Poverty reduction strategies
• Employment for persons with disabilities
• B.C. policing plan
• Decriminalisation of marijuana
• Drug houses
• First Nations
• Responsible gambling
• Fire departments
• Voting over the internet
• Recycling BC
• Focus on seniors
The conference concluded on Friday with the installation of the president elect and the premier addressing the delegates.