Wednesday, July 8, 2020

No Travel for City Council this September, as UBCM 2020 offers up a Stay-vention virtual event

Prince Rupert's Council members and senior staff will be staying close to home this September, with the annual trip south for the UBCM convention now a virtual experience, that as the province continues to expand on its measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organizers of UBCM announced the change from the traditional five day in person gathering in May, opening up convention registration on Monday for the event which will take place from September 22 to 24.

“Over the last century, UBCM has found ways to meet during the great depression, two world wars and the Spanish Flu pandemic. We will also find a way for our members to meet and deliberate the issues that matter to B.C.’s communities in 2020.” -- Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, UBCM president.

In their call for registration, organizers highlighted some of the challenges that the move to the virtual convention floor may bring.

UBCM’s Executive directed staff to ensure that a virtual convention will provide a rich experience for all members. The Convention theme this year will be “Diversity by Design”.

 Executive has recognized the financial challenges faced by many of our members resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and has reduced member registration fees to reflect hard economic times and a new virtual format.

UBCM is also aware of the connectivity challenges that exist in various regions of the Province, and staff have been reaching out to our members to explore solutions. We want to make sure that every local government and our First Nations members have access to the full Convention. 

Access to high quality internet access varies considerably across the Province, but we will find ways to overcome those challenges through the hallmarks of UBCM: cooperation, sharing and working together.

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain and the six City Councillors will be
staying close to home this September as the annual UBCM convention
moves towards a virtual event owing to the COVID-19 pandemic
Photo from City of PR Annual Report 2019)

The original program, pre-Covid had plans for delegates to gather at the Victoria Convention Centre from September 21-25.

The convention in its virtual form, will for the most part, stick to the blue print of those giant festivals of years past, with the Convention Program providing a guide as to what the delegates will experience when they log in from their hometowns.

As they work out the details towards the September event you can explore what the North Coast participants will be taking part in from the archive page for Convention 2020 here.

With no need for travel this year, the Social media photo stream will  be reduced and the city's travel expenses should surely realize some savings for the city's treasury.

 As well the move to a virtual event does free up some space on the City Council calendar for September, if the Mayor and councillors are inclined to make use of the opportunities.

In recent years, the city's elected officials have reduced their public sessions to one meeting in September owing to the UBMC commitment.

With the Council membership staying home this year, that would seem to offer them the chance to put a council session back on the featured attractions listings from the City website.

For more notes related to Prince Rupert City Council see our archive page here.

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