British Columbia

Clark reaches out to municipal leaders

Premier Christy Clark promised municipal leaders a $30-million fund to build more recreation projects across B.C., during her first speech at the annual Union of B.C. Municipal Municipalities convention in Vancouver

Premier Christy Clark rolled out a $30-million fund to build more recreation projects across B.C., during her first speech to municipal leaders at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver

Clark called the $30 million a modest amount, saying while the province has budget restrictions, its heart is with local communities. The new and improved recreation facilities would help knit communities together and provide good jobs, she said.

She pointed to a $400,000 grant to the Kootenay town of Nakusp to turn the community ice arena into a multipurpose facility, saying the project is being hailed as a local lifeline.

Clark also said she does not support the idea of charging higher MSP premiums to smokers, saying it would be a slippery slope and she prefers to fund anti-smoking programs through taxes on cigarettes.

Health Minister Mike de Jong raised the prospect of higher MSP premiums for smokers at the convention earlier this week.

Clark also told the delegates her government will proceed with its plan to create a municipal auditor general to monitor community spending. The delegates have expressed some resistance to the idea, but have said they are willing to work with the government on the plan.

Delegates at convention in Vancouver also voted narrowly in favour of moratorium on BC Hydro Smart Meters,  55 per cent in favour and 45 against.

However, Energy Minister Rich Coleman has said the government will proceed with the billion-dollar program anyway, calling the meters the global standard for a modern power grid.

The meters measure residents' power consumption and then use wireless signals to beam that information back to BC Hydro.

With files from The Canadian Press