The 2019 Union of BC Municipalities Convention was held in Vancouver this week. City of Kamloops Mayor, Council and staff met with many provincial ministers and ministry representatives to discuss issues of importance to our community. Below is a summary of some of the City of Kamloops’ brief, face-to-face meetings at the UBCM Convention. On October 1, during the Mayor’s Report at the end of the Regular Council meeting, Mayor Christian will discuss outcomes of these UBCM meetings.
On Tuesday, September 24, the City met with:
- RCMP E Division (BC) Commissioner Eric Stubbs and senior RCMP staff regarding Province/City cost-sharing formulas for the Forensic Identification Lab renovation at the Battle Street detachment. Mayor Christian also brought up rural detachment resourcing and support in order to decrease Kamloops municipal bleed off and issues around the keeping of prisoners that are not municipal prisoners.
- Deputy Minister Mark Zacharias, Environment and Climate Change Strategy, regarding Regulation of Plastic Carry-out Bags and a Recycling Regulation Amendment. At this meeting, the City made two requests: The first request was that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy enact provincial legislation to regulate the distribution of plastic carry-out bags (and other single-use plastics) while giving local governments some flexibility to address the unique needs of their communities. The second request was that the ministry prioritize amending Recycling Regulation 449/2004 to include the Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) sector in the requirement for Extended Producer Responsibility Plans for packaging and paper products (PPP). At this meeting, Mayor Christian also addressed the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR), which is currently under review. The Mayor spoke of the need to finalize the OMRR review so the City of Kamloops can move forward with the development of its long-term plan for biosolids management.
On Wednesday, September 25, the City met with:
- The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General - Hon. Mike Farnworth regarding two topics: Keep of Prisoner Program and Rural Detachment Support. At the meeting, the City discussed the Keep of Prisoner (KOP) program in which the City of Kamloops is reimbursed for the escort and custody service of provincial prisoners. The Kamloops RCMP Detachment provides escort and custody service for provincial adult females, both male and female remanded young offenders, intermittent, and PPP prisoners fresh arrests and remands from outlying smaller detachments such as Tk'emlúps, Barriere, Ashcroft, Clinton,and Logan Lake. The second topic discussed at this meeting was rural detachment policing levels. The City is seeking commitment of an increase in rural policing support specifically to the Sun Peaks and Tk’emlups areas.
- BC Hydro Vice President of Operations, Charlotte Mitka, to discuss how the City and BC Hydro can jointly improve pre-construction processes on BC Hydro projects to ensure that construction is carried out efficiently and in a timely manner for minimal disruption to the businesses and citizens of Kamloops.
- Assistant Deputy Minister Dave Peterson, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and Executive Director Tom Brown of Emergency Management BC to discuss the potential expansion of the Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre, located in Kamloops as well as other potential emergency management infrastructure requirements.
On Thursday, September 26, the City met with:
- School District No. 73 (SD73) leadership and the Deputy Minister of Education regarding use of school lands for the benefit of the community and SD 73. At this meeting SD73 and the City also discussed capital funding needs and future school site acquisitions in the growth areas of Kamloops.
- The Minister of Finance - Hon. Carole James regarding Cannabis Revenue Sharing and Exempt PST on Sales of Electric-Assist Bicycles. At this meeting the City made two requests. The first request was that the Ministry of Finance allocate a portion of the annual cannabis revenues to local governments to assist with cannabis legalization expenses and to assist with the additional burden incurred in dealing with the broader opioid/homelessness crisis. The second request was that the Province reinstate the PST exemption for the purchase of electric-assist bicycles and/or introduce a rebate program to provide a financial incentive for individuals seeking to incorporate active transportation into their daily lives.
- The Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training - Hon. Melanie Mark regarding a Tri-City/Tri-University Partnership. At this meeting, Mayor and Council inquired as to the status of the 2018 proposal put forth by Kamloops, Prince George, and Kelowna in conjunction with TRU, UNBC, and UBCO for Research Chairs in fields of Emergency Management and Recovery.
- The Minister of Mental Health and Addictions - Hon. Judy Darcy regarding a new Sobering Centre. In 2017, Kamloops City Council passed a resolution that requests support from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, and BC Housing in providing a coordinated response to social issues. This meeting with the Hon. Judy Darcy furthered this 2017 resolution by requesting a commitment for provincial support to adequately address our community gaps in service and ways to better respond to our vulnerable citizens -- including the development of a new sobering centre in Kamloops.
- The Attorney General - Hon. David Eby regarding BCLC - to ensure all future anticipated growth of functions that are currently in Kamloops remain in Kamloops, and to ensure that the BCLC site receives aesthetic improvements and streetscape upgrades for areas that abut the BCLC headquarters property.