Kamloops will once again have a seat at the table on matters related to the Southern Interior.
Kamloops Coun. Bill Sarai was acclaimed for a director at large position at the annual South Interior Local Government Association conference, which was held last week in Penticton.
“Any way I can step up, I will,” Sarai said.
Sarai, a first-term city councillor elected last fall, said the position will give him more experience and provide representation from the Tournament Capital.
Kamloops is among larger municipalities of the association’s 37 members.
The last Kamloops city councillor to sit on the board was former councillor Donovan Cavers.
The late councillor Marg Spina was previously heavily involved with SILGA.
Sarai noted Kamloops is already represented via the Union of BC Municipalities, with council colleague Arjun Singh president of that organization, and SILGA is one more piece.
“These are all steps we [city council] are taking to have our voice at each table,” Sarai said.
Sarai recently retired from his career in the postal service, meaning he will have more time for such municipal initiatives.
The first meeting will be held next month, though it is unclear what will be on the first agenda.
Among resolutions endorsed at SILGA last week, which will be forwarded to UBCM, included electronic voting for municipal elections and fire-mitigation incentives.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has said it wants electronic voting made available in municipal elections.
Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian said during discussion at the TNRD level earlier this year every avenue needs to be explored in order to increase voter turnout, which was 30 per cent in Kamloops last fall.
Meanwhile, Sarai said the hope is for the province to provide incentives to property owners, such as tax breaks, to mitigate the fire risk — a proactive rather than reactive approach to wildfires that have plagued the region in recent years.
In 2017, the province spent more than $550 million on fire suppression.
“We hope that the provincial government will come to the table,” Sarai said.
Resolutions passed at SILGA will go to UBCM convention in September.