The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) is holding its annual convention this week in Vancouver.
Kimberley’s contingent will consist of Mayor Don McCormick and Coun. Sandra Roberts.
McCormick is anxious to get back to the convention this year after missing it last year as Kimberley and Cranbrook hosted the BC 55 Plus Games. He says the convention is an excellent opportunity to meet with government ministers and staff, and other mayors from around the province.
There is a lot on the agenda, but this time, McCormick and Roberts will not be meeting with any Ministers. This doesn’t mean that Kimberley doesn’t have project they are looking to move forward, he says, just that the Ministers are already briefed on them, so it’s time to meet with staff.
“You meet with ministers at the beginning of an issue to draw attention to it,” McCormick said. “Two years ago, all new ministers were in place after the election, and we met with them then. This UBCM is an opportunity to continue to move forward initiatives already underway, as opposed to creating new ones.”
The ministries where the City of Kimberley has the most issues are Tourism, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of Environment.
McCormick says he is happy with the level of support on a number of issues at FLNROD.
“We are working on wildfire risk mitigation, urban deer and more and we are already engaged with staff at a local level,” he said.
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As for the MOE, the issue continues to certificates of compliance on former Teck lands.
“Five years ago, at my first UBCM as mayor, I got all kinds of feedback. They said they’d help. Here we are five years later and we don’t have much progress. In the case of the Marysville bench lands and the Townsite garage, it’s been ten years or more. We continue to chase our tails.
“I’ll keep at it. It’s just an arduous process.”
McCormick will also talk to the MOE staff about the former fertilizer plant lands on the east side of Jim Ogilvie Way.
“The Ministry is open to looking at subdivision of those lands.”
McCormick is anxious to get this resolved so Kimberley would have some shovel-ready light industrial land.
Other meetings planned at the UBCM are with Susan Brown, the Interior Health CEO, to talk about primary care services in Kimberley. In particular, McCormick wants to talk about expansion of urgent care hours, as well as X-ray and lab services.
There will also be Resort Municipality Initiative meetings, where the focus will be lobbying for more flexibility on how the funding is spent. There has been some expansion of the first rule, where the money had to be spent on tourism infrastructure, but McCormick is looking for more.
“We’d like to use the funding to collect tourism data. Where are the tourists coming from? How long are they staying, what do they like about Kimberley?”