September 24, 2016 - 2:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - Council chambers will be empty this week as municipal leaders head down to Victoria for the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities conference.
With resolutions on the table, learning sessions to attend and meetings planned with various provincial and federal ministries and agencies, political leaders will be busy in the province's capital. Kamloops councillor Arjun Singh, who is running for second vice-president, says the five-day event is important for municipalities to connect with each other and a wide variety of governmental bodies.
“We have access to anybody in the province we need access to,” he says. “Be it provincial, NGOs, companies, unions. They all have their head people there typically.”
Another aspect of the convention are the resolutions, where member municipalities put forward motions they want support on. Normally these are on issues with the federal or provincial government. Typically the motion must go through an area’s association first, like the South Interior Local Government Association, which includes Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon.
This year there are 177 resolutions on a variety of topics, notably marijuana and related tax revenue, climate action, housing and taxation, Singh says.
“The media will pick up on certain ones,” he says. “There’s always hot button ones that stand out.”
Kamloops is bringing one forward to improve the working relationship with the auditor general for local government.
There will also be meetings between Kamloops officials and provincial groups. Mayor Peter Milobar says there will be a meeting with the provincial minister of mining on the potential Ajax mine. It will mostly be an update about where the project stands right now, which is currently temporarily suspended from its environmental assessment. There’ll also be a meeting with the RCMP.
“It’s more of a check in,” he says. “We’ll be talking about support for the local detachment and numbers of members.”
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