The Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) 2015 Annual General Meeting and Conference took place in Courtenay, B.C. between Friday, April 10th and Sunday, April 12th. Approximately 215 elected officials registered for the event. While there were presentations on subjects such as election expense limits; the future of the B.C. Ferries; the regulation of forest management activities on Private Managed Forest Lands; Fortis B.C. Natural Gas Agreements; affordable housing; wastewater treatment advances; island-wide intermodal transportation, waste to energy and Municipal Insurance Agency activities, the primary reason for meeting was to consider resolutions on a number of issues important to your local governments.
For myself, the most interesting presentation was that of the Municipal Insurance Agency which insures assets of most local governments in B.C. The presentation highlighted the fact that the Province of B.C. does not carry earthquake insurance on their assets. Should there be a seismic event, it appears that the provincial government is relying on the Federal government to provide up to 90 cents on the dollar of the cost of repairing the damage. In an age of declining revenues and a focus on producing balanced budgets, I wonder if this is a gamble that will pay off. Additionally, since any Federal funding will be funnelled through the provincial government, is it safe to assume that the provincial government will first apply the funding to the infrastructure that is their direct responsibility? Once the repairs are undertaken on the provincial assets, will there be any monies remaining to assist local government and their residents? All are questions that appear to be valid.
There were 30 Resolutions considered by the voting delegates of which a few may be of general interest to residents within the Take 5 distribution area. In the November 2015 municipal elections, a resident of the Capital Regional District (CRD) put their name forward as a candidate for a number of local government positions. I recall that the actual number of positions numbered about 20. The Town of View Royal, within the CRD, put forward a Resolution to address the situation as follows:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Province of British Columbia be requested to amend Part 3 of the Local Government Act to add a prohibition on the simultaneous running for local government office by a candidate in multiple jurisdictions.
The City of Powell River put forth the following resolution to address the Auditor General’s Report that British Columbia was not adequately prepared for a catastrophic seismic event and one of the recommendations within the report was for communities to address seismic upgrading of all assets:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities forward a motion to the 2015 Union of BC Municipalities Conference requesting:
THAT the Provincial Government establish an Emergency Response Seismic Mitigation Fund; and THAT the Provincial Government allocate $190,000,000 annually from the Insurance Premium Tax to the fund; and further THAT up to $1,000,000 of the fund be made available annually to each of the 190 local government jurisdictions in British Columbia for the purpose of seismic upgrading of municipal emergency response buildings.
This was endorsed by convention delegates.
There was a Resolution presented by the Strathcona Regional District & City of Campbell River to have the AVICC undertake an assessment of the feasibility of all Vancouver Island communities providing Island-wide solid waste services. With the rising costs of waste disposal services (as noted in last month’s column), it is time to consider whether or not there is some synergy to be gained through cooperation with other local governments. This was endorsed by the delegates. Among other resolutions adopted were ones addressing a declaration of the right to a healthy environment, modernization of the Local Government Act, the establishment of a provincial fund to support Search and Rescue, provincial funding for police-based victim services and several dealing with environmental concerns relative to pipelines and the expansion of tanker traffic in coastal waters. If you wish to review all 2015 resolutions (except late resolutions) presented and a summary of the outcome of 2014 resolutions the following link will take you to the AVICC website: avicc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/FINAL-2015-Annual-Report-Resolutions.pdf