At the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Virtual Convention held this week, two resolutions submitted by the city of Williams Lake were endorsed, with a third being considered post-convention due to time constraints.
Two health-related resolutions addressing the general physician shortage and shared access to medical records among health professionals were included in the resolutions session.
“Increasing the number of medical school graduates to meet the needs for general physicians in B.C. is absolutely critical,” said Councillor Sheila Boehm.
“We are encouraged that the resolution to lobby the provincial government to engage or support our universities to increase seats for medical students in B.C. was passed, and look forward to seeing real action on this call that affects the entire province, particularly rural communities.”
A resolution urging health authorities in the province to grant online access to health records for allied health professionals in B.C. (including physiotherapists, psychologists, chiropractors, and other professionals) will be considered post-convention.
A third resolution calling for stronger sentencing and consistent use of electronic monitoring for prolific and repeat offenders being released into the community was successful.
“Council continues to push for a review of the judicial process to impose sentences that will keep criminals off the streets, and to help alleviate the burden on the RCMP by using electronic monitoring for prolific and repeat offenders released on conditions,” said Mayor Walt Cobb.
In a virtual meeting between council and Hon. David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing preceding the UBCM Convention, discussion included the call for a public enquiry to determine why so many prolific offenders with serious charges are released into our community with ineffective deterrents to re-offend, as well as opportunities for supportive housing to help address underlying mental health and addiction issues.
“We understand that this is a complex issue, and we are holding the Province accountable for taking concrete action to address these significant threats to community safety,” said Coun. Scott Nelson. “This is not just a Williams Lake issue – it affects communities across the province, and I am pleased that our resolution received support from the UBCM member governments.”
Following the results of the recently adopted Central Cariboo Housing Capacity and Gap Analysis Report, which clearly identifies the urgent need for an additional 800-plus new units in the region, council also attended a virtual meeting with Hon. Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services; Hon. David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, and Hon. Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs, to discuss opportunities for housing in Williams Lake.
“With the school district undergoing a land disposition process for some of its former school sites, and with identified opportunities for possible Crown land development, the city continues to urge the province to consider creative ways to expedite housing development to address the housing crisis in our community,” said Cobb.
The city will continue to communicate with the province to ensure follow-up and an action plan for these initiatives.