Original Published on Sep 08, 2022 at 15:19
By John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Local governments get a chance to put their concerns forward on the provincial stage next week. The Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) annual convention, which brings together municipal leaders and officials from across the province, takes place in Whistler September 12-16. Central to the convention is the passing of policy resolutions.
The resolutions cover a wide range of issues from the environment, policing, and healthcare, to rural insurance, better snow ploughing, and even keeping roadside rest-stops clean. They usually call on the provincial government to change legislation or take a specific action to address an issue of concern.
Local governments spend several months developing resolutions to submit to the convention. Given the hundreds of member governments, many duplications occur, so those motions are screened by a committee.
Several locally generated motions made the cut.
One RDCK resolution accepted for approval calls on the Province to require insurance companies in BC to credit communities for fire equipment that is “rigorously tested and recognized to be in excellent working condition or that can be upgraded instead of being replaced” to help ease costs on small communities and rural governments.
Another RDCK motion notes that local governments are being hamstrung in trying to develop modern land-use plans and are “responding to proposals without the benefit of an integrated approach and knowledge of cumulative impacts.” It calls on the Province to add staff to complete the land use planning modernization program by the end of 2024.
Yet another RDCK resolution on pricing policies for community forests was also recommended to be adopted by delegates.
Nelson City Council has a slate of resolutions, calling on the Province to improve funding for local governments to prepare for local emergencies, to develop better decision-making processes for grants, to help clean up issues with historic rights-of-way for utility companies, and to require BC Hydro to purchase locally generated power.
While no motions presented by West Kootenay municipalities were recommended for rejection by the resolution committee, one was presented to the delegates for discussion.
It was a motion initially developed by RDCK Area I Director Andy Davidoff, after raising a concern that insurance companies were denying insurance to some of his constituents living in communities that only have cable-ferry access.
Calling the insurance company’s policies “inconsistent,” the motion also notes that insurance can’t be renewed during wildfire season. It calls on the provincial government to pass legislation that “requires all insurance providers in British Columbia to provide insurance to all homeowners in the province with provisions that are consistent, fair, and equitable.”
The resolutions committee advised the UBCM hasn’t passed a motion like it in the past, however, “the Committee notes that the membership has supported resolutions seeking better access to insurance, to have the Province review insurance practices and to insure homeowners during and after a disaster.”
Delegates were to vote on the resolution if it wasn’t forwarded to the executive for more discussion.