Saanich pushes climate change at gathering of B.C. municipalities

Union of B.C. Municipalities conference in Whistler includes policy decisions on e-cigarettes, party buses and emergency response services

Electronic cigarettes, a crack down on party buses and emergency response services are some of the topics being debated at this week’s Union of B.C. Municipalities conference in Whistler.

Buried amongst those resolutions for the annual gathering of mayors and councillors is a Saanich motion that asks the provincial government to re-evaluate its climate change goals in partnership with municipalities.

“This is not new to UBCM,” said Coun. Vic Derman, who put forward the resolution. “We had a conference a few years ago in which climate change was a feature topic. I’m just trying to hold everyone’s feet to the fire.”

While similar to previous resolutions, the UBCM hasn’t yet approved a resolution since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released revised reports earlier this year.

The resolution also calls on the federal government to work with other countries on replacing the Kyoto Protocol with another climate change treaty.

Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard said the UBCM convention provides a good opportunity to check the pulse of B.C. communities.

“There’s always tension with the resource communities versus the urbanites,” Leonard said.

“Burnaby is pushing a late resolution on Kinder Morgan, which will be interesting.”

Burnaby wants UBCM delegates to vote to oppose Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain oil pipeline twinning.

The city is fighting the pipeline company’s attempts to access Burnaby parkland for route design.

“It’s the tone and temperament in the room that’s quite interesting,” said Leonard, a former UBCM chair who also sits on the municipal finance authority, which allows municipalities to borrow cash for infrastructure projects.

“We’re one of the few local governments with AAA credit rating. We’ve got a better credit rating than Barack Obama,” he quipped.

Victoria is also putting forward a motion calling for the province to share any gains in liquor tax it reaps through looser liquor policies to bolster liquor licence inspections, addiction treatment, policing and late night transit service.

Premier Christy Clark will give her usual annual UBCM address to delegates on Friday morning.

 

editor@saanichnews.com