UBCM REPORT 2007
Member, Kamloops City Council
On Monday Morning Sept 24th, I attended a workshop called Working with First Nations. UBCM offers seed funding for meetings between neighboring municipal and Indian band councils. Bob Joseph outlined the critical importance of land and title to aboriginal peoples and explained the supreme courts affirmation of specific aboriginal rights that are to be interpreted in a generous and liberal manner.
Monday afternoon, I attended a workshop on the BC Alberta Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility agreement (TILMA) with Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen and UBCM contracted lawyer Donald Lidstone. While the Minister repeated his assertions that the TILMA would only affect local government if there was discrimination against an Alberta company vis a vis a BC company, he dodged attempts to get him to put that commitment into writing. Lidstone asserted that the agreement may have much more effect on local government regulation because it is written with such broad language. The result may be denying local communities the power to decide their own zoning, etc.
On Tuesday morning Sept 25th, I attended a morning workshop entitled the Heritage Sustainability Nexus. Here I learned that perhaps the greenest building is the one that is already built and that rehabilitating a heritage building can create twice the number of jobs as new construction. Affordability seems to be a vexing issue, which might be mitigated by zoning allowing secondary suites in heritage areas.
Also on Tuesday, I heard representatives from Nanaimo, Surrey, and New Westminister speak at the seminar Using Bylaws to Address Crime Issues. Nanaimo’s strategy to “clean up” their downtown involves working with street people, rather than further marginalizing them. They advocate strong involvement of the parks and public works department in the effort. Surrey has been battling grow ops by focusing on possible building and fire code infractions in residential properties with very large electricity bills. The striking down of New West’s pawnshop bylaw may have implications for local government bylaws that impact privacy such as example security cameras.
At the session City Making in Paradise, Mike Harcourt advised us that much local government planning consists of decisions that will have a huge and lasting impact (100 year, forever) so we need to take care to make good thoughtful decisions. He argued for more local government taxation power. The challenge, he says, is to move from livability to sustainability.
In an entertaining presentation on the Census, David Baxter informed that we are just at the beginning of a long and prolonged era of labour shortages. The census tells us that more people are waiting longer to move out of their parent’s house – resulting in a rise in conspicuous consumption.
The provincial government is looking for suggestions for the new Green Building Code, which should be released in 2008. These regulations should allow certainty and assurance for people wanting to incorporate environmentally friendly features as well as spur greater economic activity in the green building sector. For more information, see
On Wednesday morning. Nitya Harris, the provincial 100 000 Solar Roofs project coordinator spoke about the viability of solar hot water heating systems, as well as the value of getting ready for more solar power in the future. She said the cost of building solar ready connections into a new building is only $300 and $500. Municipalities could provide incentives for such connections, as well as lead by example. Kelowna’s solar powered pedestrian crossing lights are $10 000 cheaper on a 2 lane road and $25 000 cheaper on a 4 lane road.
On Thursday morning, the Victoria / Saanich home builders showcased their Flex Plex Housing Project. This was billed as a market approach to affordable home ownership with consideration from local government. The local Habitat for Humanity also got involved. A CMHC grant allowed the creation of a legal secondary suite in each townhouse which contributed to affordability for the homeowner. The building is certified Built Green. Saanich council relaxed parking regulations and created a new zoning category for townhouses with secondary suites.
That afternoon, Tam Lundy and Jacqui Tegart from the BC Healthy Communities spoke about Creating Climates for Capacity Building. This essentially boiled down to methods to have deep and broad conversations about community issues resulting in positive community policies and initiatives. We should look each issue from a full 360 degree – economic, social, environmental, cultural, psychological, spiritual, etc.
Meeting with Provincial Government Ministers and Staffers
· Meeting with Minister Ida Chong (Community Services) about Spirit Square Project and Infrastructure funding process – she is very interested in getting a spirit square project in Kamloops built in 2008. Needs plans and matching funds from city.
· Meeting with Minister Rich Coleman (Forest, Range, and Housing) about Pine Beetle Impacts and Social Housing – not assisting private homeowners with pine beetle removal because they are already insured, held up Kamloops as a model for social housing policies in BC.
· Meeting with Minister Kevin Falcon (Transportation) about Valleyview Interchange and Cycle Path – would like to help as much as possible get valleyview cycle path built, looking at relaxing some funding criteria.
· Meeting with Don Sutherland, Director Advisory Service, Ministry of Community Services
· Meeting with Brian Krieger, Director 2010 Commerce Centre – welcomes Kamloops companies to register for the new 2010 business network - http://www.2010commercecentre.com/BusinessNetwork/Default.aspx