Meet the Mayor
September 24, 2014
Think of Whistler; think of skiing. What else does one do at Whistler? But this is not skiing season, it’s the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) annual convention that needs a conference centre large enough to accommodate several thousand attendees. That’s where most of your current Council members, the Mayor, and the CAO will be found this week deeply immersed in a variety of study and debating sessions with several intensive private sessions with Government ministers squeezed into the already-tight agenda.
On Monday I arrive at noon already weary and quickly prepare to join the British Columbia Mayor’s Caucus, a provincial version of the North East BC Resource Municipalities Coalition. For the next four hours we exchange ideas, compare notes, and make decisions on how to communicate with the Government of BC on the issues that face every municipality. Will we be heard? Sometimes yes; sometimes no. But we certainly will not be heard if we don’t speak up unitedly on the issues that unite us.
Council members are each occupied in study sessions dealing with topics such as LNG and rural health.
I begin Tuesday with a 7:00 breakfast hosted by Energy and Mines, a timely topic since our area mines are all in various stages of shut down or pre-start-up. But our appetite for energy has not abated so there is direct link between the energy sector and a good breakfast. Council members are free to choose among four Tuesday Clinics dealing with a variety of relevant topics: wildfire risk, asset management, capital procurement, and rural development.
Tuesday is also the day we meet with the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development to discuss Gas Tax Strategic Priorities and the Sewer Treatment Plant.
And that’s not all; there’s more besides but we’ll move on to Wednesday which starts much like Tuesday with the 7:00 clinics and breakfast. Today the breakfast is hosted by the Natural Gas Sector. Breakfast is hardly over when it is time for Councillors Galbraith, Weisgerber, CAO Fleming and me to meet with the Minister of Environment to discuss the Sewer Treatment Plant. We might get through in time to squeeze into the Keynote Address by the well-known host of Cross-Country Checkup, Rex Murphy.
Wednesday is also the day that the Mayor with Councillors Brownlee, Weisgerber, Pfanner, Galbraith, and CAO Fleming meet with Northern Health to discuss the on-going issues of health-care delivery in Chetwynd.
Thursday starts with a Geoscience-BC Northern Mayors breakfast and concludes with the annual banquet. Sandwiched between these culinary events is the full range of study sessions, elections of UBCM officers, clinics, policy sessions at which we vote on issues with the potential to affect the way we live and do business in British Columbia. In addition to all this, your Mayor, Councillors, and CAO have appointments with two ministries to argue for Chetwynd’s specific interests.
And then it’s Friday when the pace of events starts to wind down to a noon adjournment.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor