Mayor reports on B.C. Mayors' Caucus

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
May 1st, 2013

Seventy mayors from across B.C., including our own Lawrence Chernoff, have concluded two days of meetings in Prince George, aimed at examining the challenges of B.C.’s communities and the sharing of best practices.

In a press release, the B.C. Mayors’ Caucus said, “The mayors dealt with a number of pressing issues common to BC’s communities and endorsed the following statements:

“1. The B.C. Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC) supports the UBCM efforts to secure a long-term, predictable funding source to local government for infrastructure projects;
“2. The BCMC requests that the Province extend the Small Communities Grant Program;
“3. The BCMC requests a review of legislation that imposes wage settlements by binding arbitration on local government;
“4. The BCMC requests that the Province establish a Ministry dedicated to local government;
“5. The BCMC requests that the Premier attend the Mayors’ Round Table on local government.”

In a phone interview from Prince George this evening, Chernoff said the issues being put forward are critical to Castlegar.

“The long-term, predictable funding for infrastructure is huge – it’s money you can count on, which makes more projects viable, and better projects viable,” he said. “And asking for a ministry specific to municipalities – municipalities spend $9 billion a year in B.C. Why wouldn’t it have its own ministry?”

He said he was pleased to see several high-profile, provincial-level personalities participating, including the recently-appointed Municipal Auditor General, as well as the leader of the BC New Democrats, Adrian Dix, and Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) President Mary Sjostrom.

“We asked Adrian Dix some pretty hard questions today,” Chernoff said. “Really, what we want is that communication with the government – no matter which government – so their decisions are made with input from municipalities.”

As to how fruitful the products of the caucus will be, Chernoff said we’ll know more in May.

“The big thing here is the (provincial) election – what comes out of this really depends on what happens with the election.”

The next B.C. Mayors’ Caucus will take place in Vancouver in September 2013 during the UBCM week (Sept. 16-20).

“We’re looking to focus on the fundamentals and core services,” Chernoff said. “Heath care, education, water and sewer …”


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