North Central Local Government Association Convention – the event of the year in our area for all elected members and senior administrators of local government from 100 Mile north and from Queen Charlotte City to Pouce Coupe. This is where we go to learn all about it, to meet our peers, to cry on one another’s shoulders, and to glean ideas for better government, economic stability, and community development.
Chetwynd was well represented by four of the eight possible attendees and we managed to take in a variety of presentations and break-out sessions. We also squeezed out a half hour to meet with Northern Health (NH) to exchange ideas on health-service delivery in Chetwynd.
You will be pleased to learn, if you don’t already know, that physician recruitment by all involved parties has been successful in the short term, but now is not the time to relax our efforts. Within 12 months we expect to be saying bye to two of our dearly loved physicians and will need to find replacements in the meantime. Other items we discussed with NH included renal care, site management, and processes for providing certain cancer medications. NH will investigate this issue. While no other action items emerged from our exchange, we believe that continuing contact with NH is essential for long-term health in our community.
The highlight of the conference for Councillor Brownlee was the resolutions debate: the resolution put forward by Wells on the licensing of ATVs was especially pertinent to Brownlee. I was able to speak to Chetwynd’s resolution calling for stable, predictable, and sustainable BC-government funding for small communities. The resolution carried and it will be sent on to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention in September in Vancouver for wider discussion. If it passes at UBCM it will be sent on to the BC Government. Of interest to us in the wild regions of the province, a Williams Lake resolution to restrict the availability of bear spray and machetes was defeated. I carried away the highlights of Debora Gray’s keynote speech. As the first and only MP for the Reform Party the term she was elected, as a woman, as a Christian who didn’t mind letting that be known, she didn’t have many people willing to speak with her in parliament. That seems to have changed.
I also encountered Bob Gammer at the conference. In our region he is in charge of BC Hydro projects other than Site C. Members of Council and Administration had met with Gammer on several occasions to discuss Hydro’s plans to construct a communications tower at the hydro substation. Naturally, we opposed the location and suggested alternate sites not so in-our-faces. Naturally, Hydro, as an arm of government does not have to follow the bylaws, zoning regulations, or desires of a municipality so the erection of the tower is going forward. Hydro did make one concession: the community has been notified of the construction plans.
It’s good to be home.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor