We missed a week for regular council meetings this last week. One would think that this would allow a bit of a break. That does not seem to be the case though.
When I was campaigning for office I mentioned that there were some of the lands within The District of Barriere that are not owned by the District. It was my opinion then and it is still my opinion that we need to work hard to bring these lands under our control.
To that end at the next regular council meeting May 7, I have asked that there be placed an agenda item that will allow council to debate the acquisition of these land parcels currently held by other levels of government.
The District already has some infrastructure on lands only secured by non-exclusive land tenures which expire in 2017. We plan to further improve these lands. The time has come to complete these transfers.
We must respect the interests of our First Nations neighbours during these negotiations. Negotiations such as these should never be done behind closed doors. Inclusion and collaboration is the key to best serving the interests of all involved.
To that end I have asked that District staff provide all required information to those parties that will work with us during the process. This is public information around who owns the land now, if there has been an archaeological study completed and other data required to complete the process.
This process is not simple. It will take some time to complete. It will never be completed if we never start the process.
From April 26 to April 28, all of council save for Councillor Paula attended the Southern Interior Local Government Association convention. The convention was well attended and provided an opportunity to meet with groups from across the southern interior. From Keremeos to Revelstoke the issues around what is happening in our communities are the same.
At SILGA there were more than a few good presentations from such groups as the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association. This year TOTA has been exceptionally busy promoting our area with a new brochure and video clips that will be used to advertise all we have to offer at the Calgary Stampede and other events across Canada as well as promoting our area to the world.
SILGA also hosted workshops on such issues as local governance legal issues, social media use and diversifying from a solely resource based economy. There were many opportunities to ask questions, get ideas and grow the personal networks that are so important for success.
Through the year local governments in our area put forth resolutions to address issues of concern to the SILGA group. These resolutions are then debated at the convention with the ones not defeated going on to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in the fall.
As UBCM says on their website: “UBCM is an organization that has served and represented the interests of local governments in BC since 1905.
In today’s ever-changing world, where shifts in senior government policies, or in economic, social or political conditions, can have an immediate effect on local government, UBCM stands as a “listening post”. UBCM initiates, monitors, interprets and reacts where such changes could have an effect on local governments and the communities they serve.”
In addition to saving each municipality resources that would have otherwise been spent on tracking such changes in policies and the like the UBCM hosts a convention that includes an opportunity for local governments to speak directly with Provincial cabinet ministers. This is of great value to those small remote local governments who otherwise may never get the opportunity to put forth their ideas face to face with other levels of government.
We are fortunate here in Barriere that our MLA is a Provincial cabinet minister. Minister Lake has been a great resource and continues to champion Barriere during the various grant applications and the multitude of issues confronting us.
Once again I ask that everyone be very careful around our waterways. Spring runoff is well underway and there is more to come.