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AKBLG convention starts without Castlegar's cross-border shopping resolution

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
April 19th, 2012

The annual general meeting of the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG) got under way today in Trail, with 26 municipalities and three regional districts represented.

While Castlegar mayor and council are present, as part of 117 voting delegates and about 185 attendees, Castlegar will not be bringing forward any resolutions to be discussed at the gathering.

A resolution given the green light at Monday night’s regular Castlegar council meeting was not approved by council in time to be included in the AKBLG agenda, and will therefore be brought to the Union of BC Municipalities annual general meeting instead.

The resolution, brought forward by first-term councillor Dan Rye, is to oppose the increase in duty and tax-free limits that are to take effect on June 1 of this year.

Rye said he brought the issue to council because he feels the new limits will hurt local businesses and the Canadian economy overall.

“I don’t have a problem with people going to shop in other communities – that will always happen,” Rye said. “But this (the almost-double allowance for bringing goods across the border duty-free) is going to drive business across the line and it’s going to hurt local business and the social programming they help to fund.”

He said it’s the small businesses that will suffer – the same businesses that are constantly living to local charities and organizations to keep them afloat.

“There was no consultation at all that I know of – just all-of-a-sudden Whammo! There it was.

“What happens down the road, when those businesses have to close their doors because all that consumer money is going south to the US? Who is going to support local minor spotrs, or charities, or social programs?”

The resolution will go to the UBCM convention Sept. 24-28, to urge the provincial government to lobby against the new limits.

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