Four resolutions from the Cariboo Regional District and four from Quesnel will be considered by delegates during the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) Convention taking place in Whistler from Sept. 10 to 14, 2018.
The CRD’s first resolution is that by-elections not be required by regional districts in an election year if a vacancy occurs after Jan. 1 in a general election year.
A second resolution proposes that the provincial government enact any legislative and or policy changes necessary to ensure that local emergency organizations that are requested to and do assist during a declared State of Emergency receive timely compensation for their time and supplies used assisting the Province in this manner.
In its third resolution, the CRD is advocating amendments to the Rural Dividend Fund Process to provide allocation to local governments each year through a multi-year agreement, similar to the federal Gas Tax Fund.
The fourth resolution is asking the provincial government to work toward parity in hospital district capital contributions. Normally hospital districts contribute up to 40 per cent of capital expenses incurred by local health authorities.
However, Metro Vancouver has been relieved of its obligation to provide a contribution to hospital capital costs, shifting additional costs to the health authority, impacting the ability of the Ministry of Health to fund capital projects for hospitals.
The Board has also requested meetings with Ministers and ministry staff at UBCM and are awaiting confirmation. The proposed meeting topics are recycling programs, emergency preparedness and response, expanding cellular and broadband services in rural areas, continuing concerns following the Mount Polley tailings pond breach, the Spanish Mountain Gold project, garbage maintenance at the McLeese Lake boat launch and communications around the Commodore Heights ditching project.
Two of the resolutions from the City of Quesnel touch on wildfires — Community Wildfire Protection Plans and wildfire crime. The other two relate to grant funding and professional reliance.
The resolution relating to Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP) asks the provincial government to enable the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to become the lead agency for developing CWPP, fuel management prescriptions for the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), and fuel management treatments in collaboration with local government, and that the Province provide sufficient funding to the Forest Enhancement Society to fully fund WUI fuel management treatments so they can be undertaken expeditiously.
The resolution related to wildfire crime asks that the provincial and federal governments be encouraged to take whatever actions deemed necessary to enable and provide for more appropriate and meaningful penalties for wildfire crime and/or other similar emergencies situations. The resolution comes after reports of people illegally accessing restricted fire zones to trespass, vandalize, loot and steal personal property, and even impersonate emergency personnel for criminal purposes.
The City of Quesnel’s grant funding resolution asks that the provincial and federal governments restructure their infrastructure and social and economic grant programs to mirror the federal gas tax allocation to local governments in order to provide ease of access to year over year incremental funding.
Finally, the City asks that the provincial government ensure that government oversight of professional associations, and professional associations that oversee qualified professionals, employ best practices to protect the public interest in the management of public land by the natural resource sector. The Province is undertaking a review of B.C.’s natural resource sector professional reliance model.