Kimberley Mayor Ron McRae, along with City Councillor Don McCormick and City CAO Al Mulholland, is in Victoria this week for the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities meeting. The convention offers numerous workshops and training sessions. This year the theme is Communication as technology offers ever more opportunity for municipal governments to receive feedback from their citizens.
But in addition to training and workshops, the convention also offers something very valuable to municipal officials — face time with Ministers. These brief one to ones (often not more than 15 minutes per Minister) offer an opportunity to press ones case of funding applications or other areas of concern.
McRae says Kimberley has booked three meetings with Ministers, and given the short time available, will try to keep each meeting to a single issue.
“We will see Bill Bennett,” he said. “He is the new Minister (Community, Sport and Cultural Development) around flume funding. We are especially interested in the progress around our application for gas tax funding. We also want to see if there are other pots of money which might be available.”
Next up will be Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Pat Bell. McRae says the City of Kimberley is interested in talking specifically about BC Pavilion Corporation. This Crown corporation was originally created to operate the BC Pavilion during Expo ’86 but since then has taken on such projects as BC Place Stadium and the Vancouver Convention Centre.
“A lot of marketing is done through BC Pavilion around convention centres,” McRae said. “We want to see if they can help out the Kimberley Conference and Athlete Training Centre with their marketing program.”
The issue, McRae says, is that the BC Pavilion Board does not have an East Kootenay representative.
“There are representatives from the Lower Mainland, Prince George, Vancouver Island, the Okanagan. We want to see the mandate expanded to include Kimberley’s conference centre.”
The last Minister is Steve Thompson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. This visit may have two topics.
“We want to talk about interface fire management and funding,” McRae said. “And more than likely, we will talk about deer.”
Kimberley will be part of a group meeting around deer as well. The cities of Penticton, Cranbrook, Grand Forks, Kimberley and a few Regional Districts will meet to compare notes and share ideas. There will be a quick meeting with Environment Minister Terry Lake around deer management issues and the problems around it.