All of the resolutions submitted by the City of Williams Lake and the CRD were endorsed during the North Central Local Government Association Convention.
Williams Lake City Coun. Jason Ryll’s resolution requesting the province to direct the RCMP to amend its reporting statistics to accurately reflect crime statistics based on the regional service area the RCMP responds to and that the recommendation be sent to Statistics Canada was endorsed fully.
“I explained to people why we were doing this. It is not that we are complaining about the negative media coverage, it’s about making sure the truth gets told,” Ryll said.
It’s not just Williams Lake, it effects all small communities across Canada, he added.
“Stats Canada has the false impression that service areas reflect there being a municipal police force. When we first brought this to Stats Canada’s attention, we said we have a service area of 30,000 people that is responded to by the RCMP. They asked about our municipal police force and we told them don’t have one.”
Ryll said Stats Canada has recognized there is a deficiency in the formula used in the crime severity index.
“When I provided the context at the convention and as I am explaining it I could see other people’s heads nodding and their eyes opening as they were realizing this is impacting their communities too. I don’t think there was a single vote in opposition.”
The resolution will now go to the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in the fall for further consideration.
A CRD resolution on creating a fair provincial-local government excise tax revenue sharing agreement for the sale of recreational cannabis was carried as well.
“We as regional districts need more guidelines from the province on how to facilitate these things,” Wagner said. “We don’t have business licences and we cannot generate money from businesses.”
A resolution regarding provincial responsibility for fire services act and regulations received endorsement.
“This is an ongoing issue,” Wagner said. “The biggest issue with this is the considerable size of the regional districts, along with the fact in a lot of our regional districts we don’t have building permits or building inspections so how on earth do you do a commercial fire inspection when they may not meet the building code. Some of our tourism operators have 80-year-old buildings.”
It would cost the CRD well over $500,000 to do the inspections and because the CRD is funded solely on taxation, the burden will have to go to the taxpayers, she added.
A third resolution requested consistency in access to emergency social services resources.
“This was carried as well. We are asking the provincial government to take over management of the emergency social services because while we are grateful for the cities of Prince George, Kamloops, Kelowna, Quesnel and 100 Mile House, who took in evacuees, but over the long-term, especially in 2017, we heard they were lots of inequities,” Wagner said. “Everyone needs to get the same benefits and treatments.”
A fourth resolution put forward by Area D director Steve Forseth for more small aircraft pilot training was carried.
“In the North we rely on small aircraft so there is a need for more training opportunities in rural and northern post secondary institutions,” Wagner said.
The resolution also urges the federal government to take the small aircraft pilot shortage into consideration when considering mandatory pilot hours.
A fifth CRD resolution covered fire mitigation on transporation corridors, calling on the provincial government to establish a multi-agency approach because some corridors have been left with dry, combustible brush after clearing and increasing the risk of wildfires.
“It is not cleared often enough and when they do they leave behind debris that becomes perfect kindling for a cigarette, We appreciated what they are doing but they need to do it more consistently and clean up after the brush clearing.”
The CRD is also asking for an increase in fire centre funding in a sixth resolution that was endorsed and its seventh and final resolution called on more support from the provincial government for recreation facility staff to train for the new ammonia safety requirements.
“None of the courses that arena staff need to take are available in the North they are all in the Lower Mainland. It’s the cost that is an issue so we are looking at either to have the province fund getting people down there or more ideally have some of those courses offered at UNBC, CNC and TRU. If people are living in the North then they can attend colleges in the North.”
The 2019 NCLGA resolutions are available on our website in advance of the AGM. Visit https://t.co/gWQothpMAZ to download a list. The annual report containing the resolutions will also be provided next week at the AGM in Williams Lake. See you there!! #NCLGA2019
— NCLGA (@NCLGA) April 30, 2019