District of 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall says he was pleased by the developments he witnessed at the recent Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) annual conference.
This includes the local government resolutions that successfully passed into the hands of the UBCM, which will take them to the provincial government, he adds.
Campsall notes he was particularly happy to hear the federal government is increasing its share of infrastructure funding to 50 per cent (from one-third with the province and the local government), so the municipalities will now “fork over 17 per cent” – about half of the 33 per cent they pay now.
“That was good, especially for smaller communities like ourselves, that helps us out big time.”
Of the resolutions that were passed – ranchers seeking consultation on First Nations land claims – is an important issue for area ranchers, he adds.
“Some of the land claims run all the way around their [leased range] land; well, they can’t even get to some of the land they’ve been using for four generations.”
What this will see UBCM lobby to the province for is mostly about everyone working together on land claims, so everyone knows what is going on, instead of the current “working in silos” method that doesn’t work for anyone, he explains.
“The problem is the people down on the Coast don’t always understand what’s going on here. “They were thinking we were going to be taking away the rights of the First Nations, and in actual fact, what we are trying to do is work together.”
Campsall notes a lot of different workshops were attended by the District councillors, and he will gain more details on what they may have learned when they discuss it in council chambers.
“We made some contact with the Chinese business representatives, and made some better contact with the [University of British Columbia], so we’re going to be working with them.”
These partnerships can help municipalities and regional districts in communicating with businesses in China, he explains.
“It’s about getting to know how they deal with things, and how we deal with things, but actually translating it [correctly].”
The mayor says he didn’t attempt to meet with provincial ministers at the conference since the short time he’d be allotted often isn’t too productive, while it usually isn’t difficult for him to arrange an hour-long meeting with the officials for discussing important issues as they come up during the year.
“Fifteen-minute speed dating doesn’t do a lot for you.”
An exception is when there is a really important issue, where he might otherwise request a brief meeting with provincial leaders at UBCM just to get that conversation started, Campsall adds.