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B.C. mayors discuss key issues in Cranbrook and Kimberley

Mayors from all over B.C. were in Cranbrook and Kimberley for the B.C. Mayors
Mayors from all over B.C. were in Cranbrook and Kimberley for the B.C. Mayors' Caucus April 23-25. Above, mayors take a quick break from the session at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort in Cranbrook on Friday, April 25 for a photo.
— image credit: Arne Petryshen Photo

Members of the BC Mayors' Caucus renewed a call for solutions to a number of issues affecting municipalities, as they wrapped up the conference on Friday, April 25.

Those recommendations included a call for a full review of ambulance service delivery and a call for elimination of the ad-hoc grant process in favour of a more sustainable model.

The conference brought mayors from all around the province to Cranbrook and Kimberley from April 23-25.

Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski is part of the BC Mayors' Caucus steering committee and said the meetings covered a wide variety of topics.

"What stood out for me was the great discussions over the last day and a half on a number of issues that are common to mayors across the province," Stetski said.

There were between 60 and 70 mayors at the Caucus depending on the day and time.

"That's getting close to half the mayors in British Columbia," Stetski said. "A number of the mayors have never been to this part of the province."

Together, the mayors outlined 10 items that could the help address some of the issues. Stetski said the recommendations reflect the ones from the original BC Mayors' Caucus in Penticton in 2012.

They recommendations are:

1. The creation of a Premier’s Roundtable with the BC Mayors’ Caucus to discuss public policy changes that affect local government budgets and delivery of services;

2. Elimination of the ad hoc granting process in favour of one that is sustainable, accountable, quantifiable and allows for long term planning by local governments;

3. Review the mandate of the Municipal Auditor General;

4. Develop a roundtable on aging infrastructure that includes federal, provincial and local government participation;

5. Re-affirm the core service delivery of each order of government;

6. If services are devolved to local governments, a sustainable revenue source for those services must be identified;

7. Develop a coordinated approach to how social services are delivered into a community;

8. Call for a full review of ambulance service delivery;

9. Establish flexibility around the federal gas tax and the Build Canada Fund to be goal oriented to the priorities of the specific communities;

10. Update on the status of the 2010 Regional Districts Task Force.

The mayors at the meeting expressed particular concern over issues

affecting B.C. communities, and are seeking a more effective partnership between municipal, provincial and federal governments to better address the challenges facing the province's residents.

The BC Mayors’ Caucus Steering Committee is made up of 10 mayors from all over B.C. Those mayors are Wayne Stetski (Cranbrook), Lori Ackerman (Fort St. John),

Peter Milobar (Kamloops), Shari Green (Prince George), Dianne Watts (Surrey),

Jack Mussallem (Prince Rupert), Taylor Bachrach (Smithers), Greg Moore (Port Coquitlam), Dean Fortin (Victoria) and John MacDonald (Sayward).

The next BC Mayors’ Caucus will meet Sept. 22, 2014 in Whistler.

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