Tuesday, September 23, 2014

UBCM convention underway at Whistler

Municipal policies and issues are on the agenda this week at Whistler, as the province's municipal council members along with some of their staff members take part in the annual UBCM convention.

Monday marked the first day of the five days of meetings, one that focused on  a pair of high profile issues such as LNG in British Columbia and the Opportunities and Challenges that it offers.

Delegates also had an opportunity to learn more on the theme of improving health for rural and remote communities.

Tuesday, the day long listing of sessions will be highlighted by a number of clinics and forums on a range of topics including: Assessing and Understanding Community Wildfire Risk, Asset Management, Learning's from Local Government Capital Procurement Projects and an update on the Rural BC project.

A key review on the day will be a look at the impacts of the Tsilhqot'in Decision on Local Governments.

Policy sessions will examine a number of items: Accessible Communities, the Controversial BC Ferries report recently released (see our item on that issue here), Healthy Communities and a session on what candidates need to know for the 2014 Local elections.

Tuesday evening comes to an end with the Welcome reception.

Wednesday marks a full day for the convention, with the official opening to convention week, which will feature a string of addresses and adoption of rules and Procedures and other housekeeping issues for the annual gathering.

Some of the clinics and information sessions will no doubt be of interest to the Prince Rupert delegation to the conventions, with such items as a Report on Contaminated sites, strengthening communities through partnerships and a look at the BC Rental Housing situation sure to be of interest to the North Coast attendees.

A one hour keynote address from writer, broadcaster and political observer Rex Murphy will kick off the early morning period, which will then be followed by a review of the resolutions of the Principal Policy Session.

Nominations for UBCM positions and an address from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities makes up for part of the afternoon, followed by a number of Cabinet Panels on a recurring theme os Strong Economy and Jobs, Strong Communities and Responsible Resource Developments.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities workshop on the topic of the Federal Election of 2015 and how to amplify the Municipal message winds down the business day for Wednesday.

The evening is then turned over to socializing with three receptions for participants to take in, the BC Government Reception,  another hosted by the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China and the nightcap on the evening, a Reception hosted by CUPE BC.

Thursday it's back to work with another full day on the agenda for delegates.

The Clinics offer up more interesting fare with review of BC's Log Export Policy, a look at the options for Green Energy, a call for a partnership model for Rail Safety and another focus on rural health care.

The BC NDP's John Horgan the Opposition leader in the B. C. Legislature will have his time with the delegation with an address on Thursday morning, while Adam Olsen, the interim Leader of the BC Green Party is scheduled for a session just before the noon hour.

Delegates also move on to more resolutions for the Thursday session, with nominations for Executive positions and speeches is required to follow.

The afternoon offers up a number of workshops on themes such as: Creating a Successful Resort Community tour, Improving Civic Engagement and Voter Turnout, Linking Citizen Voices to Policy Decision, Skills Blueprints and Community Partnerships and Tackling Poverty at the community Level

The always well attended UBCM Reception launches cocktail hour, with the Annual UBCM Banquet bringing night number four to an end.

Friday is a half day to bring the 2014 edition of the UBCM to a close.

The Election for Executive positions gets the day underway after breakfast, followed by the final session on UBCM Resolutions for the convention.

The Federal Address is scheduled for 9 AM.  As James Moore, the Federal Minister of Industry addresses the convention, providing a Federal view on relations with British Columbia municipalities.

His speech will be followed by more resolution work leading up to the Installation of the President Elect and a pair of Prize draws with the Port Metro Vancouver Cruise Draw and Air Canada Prize Draw the reward for a week of convention going.

As always, the finale to UBCM convention week, is the Convention wrap up address by the Premier.

Christy Clark will provide an overview on the state of the province and the relationship between provincial government and municipalities.  Her address will bring the event to a close just as the Noon hour arrives.

In addition to the Agenda for the week, local representatives will have the opportunity to discuss issues with an assortment of provincial cabinet ministers and provincial staff members who will be receiving delegations through the week.

You can review the full Agenda package from the UBCM from this link.

Prior to their departure for UBCM, Prince Rupert council members had been making plans to hold a strategy session of sorts, designed to review their approach to the convention and what they would be hoping to bring home from their time there.

As for those who may be attending on behalf of the city, Council never did provide any information to the city website, or discuss in council session for that matter, as to a roster of those making the trek to Whistler.

In the weeks leading up to convention time, there had been a few on Council that gave indications that they may not be attending this years gathering, though no firm list of names of those attending was ever outlined by the Mayor and Council.

As well, other than the introduction of resolutions in June, there has been little discussion during the regular public council sessions as to what those from the North Coast that will be addressing this week (see the agenda list of resolutions from the North Coast here) as they make their views known to the UBCM gathering.

All of which leaves us to await the return of the travelling party, who hopefully provide us with the Cole's Notes version of UBCM 2014.

Should we discover any contributions to the week from the North Coast representatives we'll post them to our archive page of items of interest from UBCM, you can find that week long rolling index here.

Readers can also learn more about developments at the Whistler convention through the #UBCM hashtag on the social media platform twitter.

For an overview of issues that Prince Rupert City Council discussed through the year, see our archive page for City Council developments here.

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