Forums Focus: Streetside Health Care; Reconciliation; Marijuana Dispensaries

The agendas for the community forums are shaping up for UBCM’s Convention in Victoria. The forums provide breakouts for delegates from electoral areas, as well as small, mid and large-sized communities, and will be held Tuesday Sept. 27, 9am – 12 pm.

The Large Urban Communities Forum will highlight community strategies to support those who are hard to reach. The City of Maple Ridge will focus on its Resilience Initiative and the City of Vancouver will share work being undertaken in the Downtown Eastside to meet with patients on their own turf to coordinate service for individuals with extreme mental health issues.

The forum will also consider the analysis provided by an expert panel on B.C.’s housing market. Delegates will hear from Helmut Pastrick (Chief Economist, Central 1 Credit Union); Thomas Davidoff (Associate Professor, Strategy and Business, Economics Division, Sauder Business School, University of British Columbia); and Paul Kershaw, Associate Professor, UBC, School of Population and Public Health and author of Generation Squeeze.

The Mid-Size Communities Forum will critically explore local approaches to marijuana dispensaries in light of the rapid growth in dispensaries throughout the province. Delegates will hear presentations from the District of Squamish, the City of Merritt, and the City of Nelson. 

The forum will also discuss the attraction and recruitment of skilled workers and families to communities. Delegates will hear from Dr. Paul Kershaw on the challenges impacting families and workers, including housing, debt levels, and daycare, as well as mitigation strategies. Local government approaches to recruitment and retention will also be featured, including the City of Quesnel and the District of Lake Country.

The Electoral Area Directors Forum this year has a strong emphasis on funding – for infrastructure, economic diversification, and wildfire protection. The forumwill start with a presentation by Claudia Trudeau, Director of Rural Policy and Programs for the Rural Secretariat in FLNRO, providing an update on the Rural Dividend program. Following the open microphone session, Vera Vukelich, Land Policy and Programs Manager in FLNRO, will present on Off Road Vehicles. The remainder of the session will consist of a panel discussion on funding addressing water systems, climate change & asset management; wildfire protection; and transportation infrastructure.

The Small Talk Forum will welcome Darlene Morgan, CAO, Nisga’a Village of Gitlaxt’aamiks to deliver a special presentation on local government and reconciliation.The Nisga’a Village of Gitlaxt’aamiks is a member of the Union of B.C. Municipalities and Ms. Morgan is a survivor of the residential school system. This session will also feature success stories from the Village of Slocan (Owl Walk nature park); the Village of Lumby (Monashee Community Forest partnership with the Splatsin First Nation); Town of Osoyoos (Fighting School Closure); and the Village of Clinton (Brownfields to Dog Parks).

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