Executive Meeting Highlights

UBCM Executive members met January 23-24, 2014 for their second full board meeting of the year. A full complement of eight committee meetings were held and the Executive received a delegation from Richard Bullock, Chair and Brian Underhill, Executive Director, Agricultural Land Commission.

Highlights of the January 24th Executive meeting:

  • received a report from Presidents Committee advising of the actions taken at their December 17th conference call including:
    • reconstituted the Select Committee on Local Government Finance and provided a term extension to September 2014;
    • requested that a final report from the Recycling Negotiating Committee be prepared for Executive based on the work completed and next steps with respect to MMBC.
    • wrote to Transportation Minister, Todd Stone in response to announced reductions in BC Ferries service levels on both major and minor routes, reiterating UBCM policy which requests the Province to acknowledge that ferries are an extension of the highway network and as such, need to be funded and administered accordingly.
  • received an update on elections legislation development
  • received a status and action report on a variety of policy areas that continue to be monitored by UBCM including; implementation of a new Off Road Vehicle Management framework; Natural Resource Roads Act project; Derelict Vessels; BC Transit Independent Review working group; Community/Rail Proximity Initiative; National Municipal Rail Safety working group; Assessment Appeals on Special Use Properties; Aggregate Resource Management; Liquor Policy Review; Federal Additions to Reserve; Independent Panel on Internet Voting; and discussed the federal government's review of prostitution laws.
  • received the financial report for the period ending December 31, 2013.
  • received a status report on the progress made on the 2013-2014 work program.
  • received a final report from the Recycling Negotiating Committee that advised that the work of the Committee as defined by the 2013 Special Resolution is complete and that the following follow up actions be undertaken:
    • call on the Province to undertake transitional monitoring of the packaging and printed paper stewardship program;
    • UBCM monitor implementation to identify any potential regional coverage issues;
    • UBCM to seek representation on MMBC's Advisory Committee in order to provide feedback on the program; and
    • UBCM provide updates to members on program implementation.
  • approved external appointments to:
    • BC Provincial Committee on Rail Safety – to promote safety around railways and rail property in an effort to reduce highway/railway grade crossing collisions and trespassing incidents.
    • ERASE (Expect Respect And A Safe Education) Provincial Advisory Council - to expand the scope of the strategy to address bullying in schools to the broader community.
  • received a report on UBCM's activities in FCM International Programs including a planned mission to Vietnam by President Martin in late February.
  • received reports on Victoria Operations including Local Government Program Services.
    received a number of member letters indicating support for FCM's call for an affordable, long-term housing plan.
    in response to a letter from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations on urban deer management, UBCM will indicate a willingness to participate on a Provincially-led task force on urban deer management and that would include policy development and a review of relevant tools for wildlife management.

Highlights of the January 23rd Committee meetings:

Presidents

Committee members received reports on financials, staffing, member services and group benefits programs. Approval for the timeline and work plan of the 2014 Excellence Awards program was provided; discussed next steps with respect to the Executive Policies review; received a status report on pension matters; received a report on referred resolution 2013-A4 Conflict of Interest and advised that staff are continuing to review and monitor the matter with Ministry officials. Members approved an enhanced provincial outreach/advocacy strategy as part of the April Executive meeting that will be held in Victoria on April 2 – 4. With the reconstitution of the Select Finance Committee, members confirmed that the Fiscal Futures report and its related recommendations remain a priority for UBCM in the coming year.

Resolutions

The Resolutions Committee met and discussed its Terms of Reference and the timeline for the 2014 resolutions process. This being their first meeting since the 2013 Convention, members reviewed delegate feedback and Committee experiences and suggested improvements for 2014. Correspondence from the Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA) was received regarding the handling of late resolutions and resolutions off the floor of Convention. The Committee also considered resolution 2013-B49 regarding evaluation of the effectiveness of UBCM resolutions.

The Resolutions Committee discussed the number of resolutions admitted for debate; relevancy of some resolution topics; scheduling options for policy sessions; and the process for handling late resolutions and resolutions off the floor. No changes to these procedures were deemed necessary for 2014. Minor changes to improve pre-Convention communication with members regarding the distribution of the Resolutions Book will be made; and the Committee agreed to undertake several small but significant environmental changes to improve the flow of debate.

Staff was asked to investigate and report back on several additional matters at the July 2014 meeting of the Resolutions Committee.

Convention

The Committee completed its review of the 2013 Convention, reviewing the Sponsorship Final Report and December 31, 2013 financial statements. The basic program format for this year's Convention was discussed, including consideration of timing for plenary addresses, 2014 theme considerations, and keynote speaker options. The Committee will be finalizing the 2014 theme and keynote in the coming weeks. The Committee also discussed potential banquet entertainment, and selected The Roundhouse Restaurant on Whistler Mountain as the Delegates Lunch location.

First Nations Relations

The Committee met by conference call with Mr. Kris Johnson, Senior Director, Lands Modernization, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, regarding the current status of the federal Additions to Reserve policy, UBCM's submission and concerns regarding the ATR policy, and recommendations to the Minister for further revisions to the draft policy. Mr. Ken Cossey, Director of Lands and Real Estate Operations with the Songhees First Nation and Mr. John Makson, Manager Development & Operational Support Services West, First Nations Land Management Resource Centre also presented to the Committee regarding emerging First Nations land use planning trends.

The Committee discussed the proposed First Nations Education Act; the status of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act and Additions to Reserve policy; joint projects with the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation including the Strategic Engagement Agreement pilot and joint staff working group; and a proposal by Reconciliation Canada to partner in the delivery of 100 reconciliation dialogue workshops.

Healthy Communities

The Healthy Communities Committee discussed an update on the Regional Community Poverty Reduction Strategy. Three Committee representatives will be meeting with Minister Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development, in early February to review the successes and challenges of the strategy to date and discuss next steps.

The Committee also discussed Remote and Rural Health Care, reviewing the data that staff had collected and recommending that the data be supplemented by research related to physician retention in remote and rural communities. The Committee supported UBCM staff's appointment to the provincial-level Health Equity Indicators Working Group. As well, at the beginning of March two Committee representatives will be attending the forum on potential changes to remote and rural perinatal care.

The Committee recommended not endorsing Resolution B-135: Meningitis Vaccinations in BC given the timeline of implementation of the resolution and the existing meningitis vaccination program. The Committee received reports on Healthy Families BC Communities and Province-wide mental health care services. Finally, the Committee discussed key ministry meetings for the April 2014 meetings with Cabinet.

Environment

The Environment Committee received a delegation from the BC Trapper's Association (BCTA) in regard to recent Convention resolutions. The Committee recommended that staff work with the BCTA on developing a workshop proposal at the 2014 Convention. As well, a delegation of Ministry of Environment staff was received regarding the Water Sustainability Act. Committee members were advised that local governments would be invited for further comment during the drafting of associated regulations.

The Committee received reports on the Packaging and Printed Paper Regulation and UBCM's Recycling Negotiating Committee. The Committee recommended both political and staff representation on the proposed Multi-Materials BC Advisory Committee, as well as identifying the stewardship program as a priority for discussion at the highest political level possible at the April meeting

Updates were also received on Land-based Spill Preparedness and Response strategy, Integrated Pest Management Regulation, and Small Water Systems. The Committee supported UBCM to comment on the forthcoming Land-based Spill Preparedness and Response Second Intentions Paper, and recommended endorsing the final Small Water Systems Recommendations Paper.

Community Safety

The Community Safety Committee was briefed on the status of three reviews:

1. Corrections Review

Laurie Throness, Parliamentary Secretary for Corrections to the Minister of Justice, discussed the Corrections Review Consultations he is undertaking. He indicated that community safety is one component of the review and he will be undertaking eight regional roundtable consultations. A final report on the corrections system in the Province will delivered to the Minister by June 30, 2014.

2. Rural Highway Safety and Speed

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure officials discussed the Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review Consultations. The review focused on highway speeds on rural highways; winter tires; wildlife interface; and slow moving vehicles and involved eight regional consultations. The ministry indicated that the review was finished and that a report would be released later in the year that included the public consultations undertaken on the issues and a technical review on highway speed limits.

3. BC Policing Plan

Clayton Pecknold, Assistant Deputy Minister, Police Services Division, Ministry of Justice briefed the Committee on the status of the BC Policing Plan and other policing issues. He indicated that the Province intended to implement recommendation #1 of the BC Policing Plan that called for a review into the delivery and financing of police services. He informed the Committee that the Province would be implementing a number of the recommendations outlined in the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry in the upcoming year. He briefly updated the Committee on the implementation of the RCMP contract and the status of a number of issues related to it (i.e. Green Timbers, etc.).

The Committee used the opportunity in each of the meetings to highlight the resolutions that had been endorsed at the UBCM Convention on each of the issues.

Community Economic Development

The Community Economic Development Committee met and considered referred resolution B143 from the 2013 Convention related to log export policy. The Committee chose to defer making a decision on B143 until members have an opportunity to meet with ministry officials to better understand the Province's existing log export policy. Members also agreed to seek meetings with a number of Cabinet ministers as part of the April Executive meeting, planned for Victoria.

The Committee received information on a number of energy policy announcements including electricity rate increases, BC Hydro's IRP, and the role of the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC). In response, a letter will be sent to the Minister of Energy advising that UBCM would like to see the BC Utilities Commission provide full oversight of BC Hydro. The Committee also agreed to work with and support AVICC and coastal communities in their efforts to respond to the Province's decision to reduce service levels on both minor and major BC Ferries routes.

DELEGATION – Agricultural Land Commission

Richard Bullock, Chair and Brian Underhill, Executive Director of the Agricultural Land Commission met with the UBCM Executive and explained the role and mandate of the Commission - an administrative tribunal responsible for making decisions on applications to include or exclude land, subdivision and non-farm use within ALR. Chair Bullock advised that the Commission's purpose is to preserve agricultural land and develop policy that encourages agriculture. He advised that after being in place for 40 years, legislative and regulatory updates are needed to reflect the changes that have taken place in the agriculture industry and address the lack of flexibility in the present system that continues to be pressured. He expressed a need to refocus the program on farmers not developers /speculators and encouraged public support for local agriculture business and locally grown products. Local governments were identified as key partners in helping the ALC to achieve its mandate. He addressed the growing challenges facing the ALR but confirmed that the ALC's strategy going forward will focus on:

  • defensible boundaries
  • placing agriculture first
  • proactive planning focus instead of reactive application focus
  • priority for bona fide farmers and ranchers
  • strong alliances with stakeholders
  • ability to respond and enforce
  • up to date technology

Executive members engaged in a question and answer session with the Chair and Executive Director before concluding the delegation.

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