Wednesday, September 28, 2016

UBCM delegates in whirlwind of meetings through two days of convention

The list of topics for discussion at the UBCM convention in Victoria seems endless, municipal infrastructure, gang issues, housing, a crisis in health care related to fentanyl, making for a fast pace to the program for convention delegates over the first two days of the week long discussions.

North Coast residents received a glimpse of what the Prince Rupert delegation has been up to through the Facebook page of Councillor Blair Mirau yesterday, with the first update on some of the sessions that he has taken in as part of Monday and Tuesday's schedule of events.

For Mr. Mirau, discussion forums and work shops on staff recruitment, marijuana regulations, industrial development and infrastructure deficit made up for a few of his stops around the Victoria Convention Centre.

Councillor Blair Mirau has had a hectic two days at the UBCM
convention having taken in a number of seminars and workshops

(Photo from Councillor Mirau's Facebook page)

The dispatch from the Councillor is the first time that the Prince Rupert delegation has broken radio silence when it comes to their travels to the provincial capital to take in UBCM2016.

The convention moves into some of the key speeches of the week today, with the marquee event coming up at 2:15 this afternoon when Premier Clark makes her annual address to the convention delegates. The presentation which usually closes the event at weeks end, was moved to mid-week this year, most likely owing to the Premier's commitments related to the ongoing Royal Visit to British Columbia.

When she does take to the stage today its a pretty safe bet that LNG development will make for some of her remarks, as the Premier comes to UBCM with a Federal Approval for the Pacific NorthWest LNG project in hand.

That positive announcement for the BC Liberal's will provide Premier Clark with another opportunity to highlight the change that she and her party believe the LNG industry will bring to Northern British Columbia.

As well we will most likely hear a few test sound bytes for the upcoming Provincial election, one of the potential campaign themes appeared to be getting a test drive during the comments from the Premier at yesterday's Pacific NorthWest LNG announcement, with Premier Clark frequently referring to the need to Grow the Middle Class.

That is one theme that will resonate with UBCM delegates we imagine, the middle class being an important contributor to revenues for municipal government through taxation. Growing that collective for any municipality, or any level of government for that matter is always a concept that is a welcome direction.

In her annual address the Premier for the most part however sticks to the bread and butter of politics, saluting the hard work of municipal leaders and pointing to parts of British Columbia where she sees positive trends.

Last year the City of Prince Rupert and Mayor Lee Brain got a shout out from the Premier, whether they still remain high on the list will be something to watch for when the speech begins this afternoon.

A live stream of her comments for UBCM is set to be provided through the BC Government website here, if the timetable holds to schedule, something that at times is hard to control it appears, the Premier will be onstage at 2:15.

You can keep up to speed on some of the news coming out of UBCM from our archive page here.

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