Municipalities in B.C. will decide next week whether to lobby the province for a say on mining projects within 10 kilometres of city boundaries.
The resolution, which will be debated at the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual convention in Whistler from Sept. 10 to Sept. 14, is from Kamloops council and was created after the proposed Ajax mine south of Aberdeen was rejected by the provincial government.
“Essentially, all I want is for us to have a say when a large development like that decides to come in,” Coun. Dieter Dudy told KTW.
Dudy said the resolution doesn’t mean the city is closed for business, but illustrates that it wants to have more control over matters impacting the community. Dudy said the community had concerns about health impacts and he believes municipalities need more control.
That would require amending the Mines Act and other legislation. Dudy will be attending UBCM next week, along with Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian and fellow councillors Ray Dhaliwal and Arjun Singh.
Singh has been involved with UBCM on a deeper level for the past five years, as a board member and, more recently, as vice-president. He is expected to become the next president this year — an opportunity he said will allow him to meet people and gain a better understanding of provincial-municipal issues, such as cannabis sales, policing and the environment.
“Ultimately, as a byproduct of the service I’m doing provincially, there’s going to be some ability for me to be a better city councillor,” Singh said.
This year, local communities submitted 205 resolutions, 25 per cent more than were debated last year.
Some other areas of concern include cannabis tax-revenue sharing, the employer health tax and the speculation tax.
Christian said a number of meetings are lined up, including with Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy, BC Hydro, Emergency Management BC and RCMP E-Division.
Among discussion points, the mayor wants to talk about the opioid crisis and wildfires. He will be preparing a more specific briefing by the end of the week before travelling to Whistler.
Nearly 2,000 delegates are expected at the convention, which will also include addresses by Premier John Horgan, B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver, B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and venture capitalist Arlene Dickinson, best known for her stint on the Dragons’ Den TV show.