Milestone celebrated

Mayor Kerry Cook discusses mining, government funding formulas, and the 2012 graduates in this week's column.

Williams Lake welcomed the Imperials Metals Annual General Meeting recently, the first time the company has held its AGM outside Vancouver.

I attended the meeting, and later a tour of the Mount Polley mine. It was great to see Imperial Metals making the effort to show its shareholders and guests one of its key assets in person; and also giving those investors a glimpse of the communities and people who support the mine.  The city’s Business Expansion and Attraction Strategy calls for the city to work with local mining companies to identify suppliers and urge them to relocate to Williams Lake. We want to be the province’s supply and training centre for mining. There is so much happening around us in this industry — Mount Polley, Gibraltar, the New Prosperity and Spanish Mountain Gold proposals — and the city wants to be poised to capitalize on the economic development benefits.

I attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference in Saskatoon, and what stuck out to me was it’s not just Williams Lake, or the cities at the BC Mayors Caucus, but cities across the country that want to see better funding arrangements with the federal government. Municipalities get eight cents of every tax dollar, and that has not changed in years. More and more services are downloaded to municipalities. There needs to be stable funding for public infrastructure, such as roads and water systems, most of which is built and maintained by municipalities. Williams Lake has joined the chorus of municipal voices calling for a better funding arrangement.

Lots of grads and their families are busy this week with pictures, family barbecues, and other activities as the big weekend approaches. I’m one of those parents, and it is a very busy time. But it’s a good kind of busy. We are celebrating an important milestone in our children’s lives, and they should be celebrated for their hard work. I wish all the grads of 2012 the very best as they start the next chapter of their lives.

Kerry Cook is the mayor of Williams Lake.

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