British Columbia

10 resolutions at this week's big B.C. municipal conference you may not know about

There are 143 resolutions being voted on at the UBCM, and they certainly don't lack for diversity

Justin McElroy - CBC News

September 26, 2017

Delegates to the 2017 Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention will have many resolutions to vote on. (Shutterstock)

There are many things happening this week at the annual conference for B.C. municipalities: announcements by the provincial government, chances for cities and towns to learn best practices from one another, opportunities for businesses and unions to schmooze politicians.

But mostly, there are resolutions. Lots and lots of resolutions. 

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All told, there are 143 motions being voted on this way, most of which have to do with lobbying the provincial government to take action on various issues. 

It may seem like a lot, but Murry Krause, the president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, says it's actually down from recent years. 

"I think now we're getting the ones that are really important to the whole province," he said.  

"[But] one of our foundations is it's purely democratic. It's an opportunity for local governments to come to this convention and talk about their issues."

Much of the talk at this year's conference will centre on the motions concerning marijuana regulation, campaign finance reform and keeping housing affordable. 

But here are eight other resolutions you might find interesting or amusing. 

1-3. Get rid of the rats/Canada geese/train whistles

Despite the growth in Canadian geese populations, the government has not designated the birds as overabundant and culling large swaths of birds is certainly not something being considered. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)

There are plenty of UBCM resolutions dealing with things that show up in people's communities too often. 

A resolution from Parksville supports "a regional coordinated approach to resident Canada goose management," due to overpopulation in recent decades.  

Another by West Kelowna asks for the "Ministry of Environment to develop and fund a strategy to reduce and/or control the rat population".

Then there's Vanderhoof which argues that, because "locomotive whistles severely infringe upon citizens' quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort and convenience," they be banned throughout the province. 

(For those curious, the UBCM Resolutions Committee endorses the Canada geese motion, is neutral on the rat population motion and is against the train whistle motion.)

4. Develop ride-hailing laws for the rest of the province

(Reuters)

It's unknown when — or if — the provincial government will bring in legislation allowing ride-hailing companies like Uber or Lyft to operate in B.C. 

But the City of Enderby hopes laws are also developed that work for smaller, more remote communities.

"It's even difficult for a taxi to set and operate and make it viable, but a ride-share program could be quite successful, if it was allowed to operate outside the larger communities," said Enderby Mayor Greg McCune.

"It's not just a big city issue, and there could be opportunities on a smaller scale."

5. Save the breweries on ALR land

Hops, a key ingredient in beer, growing in the wild. The craft beer community in New Brunswick is generally good about "lending each other ingredients, or equipment, and collaborating on beers," says beer expert Shawn Meek. (Laura MacNaughton/CBC)

There are dozens upon dozens of breweries in British Columbia now, but the two of them that set up shop on farmland — Gibson's Persephone Brewing Co. and Sorrento's Crannóg Ales — face eviction because they only grow hops on their land, which isn't enough to satisfy the requirements of 50 per cent farm product.

One resolution asks the government to amend that law, allowing "breweries, distilleries and meaderies to contract with another B.C. grower to meet the ... requirement."  

6. Remove asbestos regulations?

An investigation launched by Worksafe B.C. found that School District 22 failed to effectively identify asbestos-containing material in the work place, and allowed workers to work in contaminated areas without providing the necessary training. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

WorkSafeBC issued more stop work orders and fines related to asbestos in the first eight months of 2017 than all of 2016, as new regulations have come into place for people demolishing homes that contain the toxic fireproofing agent.

But those regulations — and the subsequent costs associated with them — have raised the ire of at least one municipality. Greenwood has put forward resolution B97, asking the government to postpone the regulations "until a financial plan is in place to assist the owners of pre-1990 buildings."

7-9 Changing calendars and clocks

Daylight saving time is not used everywhere in the world, not even in all parts of Canada. Saskatchewan and some parts of B.C. do not adjust their clocks in the spring and fall. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Don't care for Daylight Savings Time? Grand Forks has a resolution asking the government to look at abolishing it. 

Annoyed that Family Day is one week earlier than most other provincial holidays in February? Quesnel has a resolution asking for a public consultation to move it.

Believe there should be a national statutory holiday for Truth and Reconciliation? Metchosin has a resolution calling on the federal government to institute it. 

10. More resolutions?

Hamilton Superior Court of Justice dismissed a case Wednesday by Steve Tourloukis, a Greek Orthodox father of two who went up against the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board over whether his children could be exempted from learning about issues against their religious beliefs. (iStock)

However, some of the 143 resolutions may not actually be voted on at the convention, because only part of the time is devoted to those votes, and the length of the meeting can't be extended. 

The solution? According to Hudson's Hope, it's to change the schedule in future years, so more time is allocated to resolutions. 

They've put forward a resolution to make it so.

With files from Josh Pagé

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Justin McElroy
@j_mcelroy

Justin is the municipal affairs reporter for CBC Vancouver, covering political stories throughout the Lower Mainland.

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