Most of Kamloops council (seven of nine) is represented among some 2,000 delegates at this week’s Union of BC Municipalities convention in Vancouver, about 1,200 of whom are local government officials.
Others include provincial counterparts.
In attendance are Mayor Ken Christian and councillors Dieter Dudy, Bill Sarai, Arjun Singh, Dale Bass, Sadie Hunter and Kathy Sinclair.
Councillors Mike O’Reilly and Denis Walsh could not attend due to personal reasons.
Council had scheduled myriad meetings with ministers, including B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth on Wednesday to discuss financial pressures that stem from holding out-of-town criminals in RCMP cells.
Sarai said Ashcroft and other rural communities don’t have such facilities, putting pressure on the Kamloops detachment and, in turn, adding costs to the municipality, which picks up the police tab. Sarai said Farnworth is aware of the situation, but does not expect an imminent solution, due to a lack of tracking officer time and benefits the city also receives from external emergency response teams and special units.
“They look at cost recovery,” Sarai said. “But they’re thinking it always events out, but it doesn’t.”
Resolutions put forth by municipalities and regional districts will be debated from Wednesday through Friday, including four from Kamloops and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District calling on municipalities to lobby the province for online voting; institutional, commercial and industrial recycling; taxing short-term rentals not in a primary residence as businesses and boating restrictions during states of emergency.
A resolution from the Regional District of Central Kootenay pushes to retain land title records in Kamloops. Records from Nelson were previously moved to the Kamloops office. The province planned to move the records from Kamloops to Victoria, but recently delayed the move. O’Reilly has also pushed the issue.
“Hopefully, that resolution is supported at UBCM this week,” O’Reilly told KTW from Kamloops.
Award-winning regional district
The TNRD also picked up an award at the convention, earning excellence in service delivery for its mobile library service which provided advanced voting to rural communities in the 2018 fall civic election.
Singh reflects on presidency
When KTW reached Singh by phone in Vancouver on Wednesday, he was battling with losing his voice.
The Kamloops councillor had been giving speeches as part of his role as UBCM president. In addition to convention duties, Singh in the past year has travelled the province, juggled UBCM, council and Thompson-Nicola Regional District responsibilities and transitioned many new local government officials in the wake of last fall’s election.
He now has two days left in the role, with Sooke Mayor Maja Tait expected to be acclaimed president on Friday. Through a raspy voice, Singh called it an “amazing year” and cited support from his colleagues and the community.
“It’s been a real honour to represent the province, but also represent Kamloops and the region,” Singh said.
On Friday, he will become past-president, a position on the UBCM executive. Singh said the role will be less hands-on than that of president — which led to him missing the occasional TNRD and council meeting — and more as an advisory position. In addition, Singh remains chair of the UBCM committee on climate action, which is tackling advocacy and best practices to reduce emissions.