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UBCM asks province for more than 150 changes to legislation

British Columbia municipalities have asked the province for assistance on more than 150 items, ranging from broad issues such as homelessness and carbon tax relief to specific concerns such as bullfrog management and lawn mower replacement.

Now it’s up to the B.C. Liberal government to respond.

While provincial pageantry and drunken town councillors are always fun to watch, it is the resolutions process that justifies the annual UBCM convention, which wraps up today at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

Of the 175 resolutions that were forwarded to the provincial government following last year’s UBCM convention, 67 were addressed in whole or in part, according to the UBCM. The province indicated that it was not willing to consider changes proposed in another 37 of last year’s resolutions. The remainder are still under review.

UBCM members submitted a total of 219 resolutions in advance of this year’s convention, but after an extended debate about carbon tax resolutions, the convention found time to consider only about two-thirds of them.

This year’s convention approved major requests for carbon tax relief, care of dually diagnosed mentally ill people, and repeated a call for cohesive national and provincial housing strategies.

In a strong rebuke to Housing Minister Rich Coleman's plans to redevelop the Riverview Lands in Coquitlam, the UBCM urged the province to "retain the Riverview Lands in public ownership . . . and not as a site for market housing."

Other leading resolutions included requests for non-returnable warrants, summons by mail, northern school funding, unnecessary product packaging, ocean energy strategy, and highway 37 electrification.

There were strong requests for funding for communities impacted by mill closures and pine beetle infestation, and for the restoration of locally elected representatives to BC Ferries' Ferry Advisory Committees.

The was a call for a ban on LNG tanker traffic in Georgia and Juan de Fuca straights.

There was a request for the province to establish a body to regulate and supervise professional boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, ultimate fighting and mixed martial arts contests. And the UBCM asked the Ministry of Transportation to make rural cycling safer by sweeping gravel and debris off road shoulders on a year-round basis.

Among the issues that generated the most humorous debate was the “crack house” resolution, which asks the province to develop a model for communities to deal with the negative effects of illegal substance exchange and offensive parties in neighbourhoods. Hung-over delegates debated at some length the definition of a bad party.

Monte Paulsen is editor of The Hook.

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