Approximately 65 of B.C.’s mayors met in Kimberley and Cranbrook last week for the B.C. Mayors’ Caucus. The caucus was founded three years ago to help mayors find a collective voice with which to communicate with the provincial government.
At its inception the Caucus came up with eight focus points, all of which were reaffirmed at this meeting. Those include, the creation of a Premier’s Roundtable with the BC Mayors’ Caucus to discuss public policy changes that affect local government budgets and delivery of services;
Elimination of the ad hoc granting process in favour of one that is sustainable, accountable, quantifiable and allows for long term planning by local governments;Review the mandate of the Municipal Auditor General; Develop a roundtable on aging infrastructure that includes federal, provincial and local government participation and more.
The mayors also added two more points — a full review of the delivery of ambulance services and an update on what happened to the promised Regional District task force.
Kimberley Mayor Ron McRae said the joint hosting worked out very well.
“It all went very smoothly,” he said. “And it has to be noted just how impressed many mayors were with Kimberley in particular. Many of them had never been to the East Kootenay before. Particularly with the conference centre — a number of mayors asked how a community of 6800 was able to pull off such a beautiful facility.”
McRae said he thought the two days of meetings were well worth the time.
“Many mayors, myself included, appreciate the opportunity to come together and share perspectives and get direction in terms of dealing with the provincial government. It’s important for mayors to come together to have a collaborative voice.”
The mayors expressed particular concern over issues affecting BC communities, and specifically, are seeking a more effective partnership between municipal, provincial and federal governments to better address the challenges facing BC residents. In other business, the mayors affirmed support for the UBCM Strong Fiscal Futures report.
The next B.C. Mayors’ Caucus will take place in Whistler at the same time as the UBCM in September. Next spring, the mayors will meet in Fort St. John.