Mayor Maja Tait is slated to become the next president of the UBCM. She says the group is a great advocate for municipalities. (File)

Sooke mayor in line to head up UBCM

Maja Tait says her involvement builds relationships with other levels of government

Barring some unprecedented change in the regular order of things, Sooke Mayor Maja Tait will soon be named as the president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

RELATED: Move to 1st Vice President in 2018

That organization is slated to hold its annual convention between Sept. 23 to 27, and as the current first vice-president of the UBCM, Tait is the presumptive president for the next year.

“My involvement with the UBCM has put me in a much better position to ensure that our district is in alignment with other municipalities and to advocate for those issues that directly impact our community,” Tait said.

“Our community is not the only one facing pressures of growth, for example, and the UBCM allows us to address those common challenges to find solutions.”

That’s an assessment echoed by the UBCM’s current president Arjun Singh.

“UBCM’s annual convention provides a platform for communities across B.C. to identify issues and seek the support of their peers. One of the key resolutions in this year’s agenda highlights the need for improved consultation by the province on land use issues in B.C. This resolution has been driven largely by input from small and rural communities and will help focus provincial attention on this issue,” Singh said.

A major UBCM accomplishment cited by Tait is municipal access to the federal gas tax.

The tax delivers more than $2 billion annually to more than 3,600 communities across the country.

“The UBCM was a big advocate for the recent increases in that fund and that, in turn, gives us some security of funding for infrastructure projects in our own community,” Tait said.

Notwithstanding the accomplishments of the organization, some have questioned the involvement of municipalities in what are generally considered to be global issues, and in 2016 the Canadian Taxpayers Federation called it “a big waste of money.”

Tait disagrees and points out that many so-called global issues like climate change, environmental challenges and even the opioid crisis have direct impacts on our community.

“If we sit in our own silos and pretend that everything is perfect, how will we ever make things better?” Tait asked.

“Whether its the opioid crisis, broadband internet, housing affordability or any of a number of other issues, all municipalities are having to deal with the impact of these challenges and the UBCM is a good place to gain information and perspective.”

Tait said the relationships with federal and provincial representatives that she’s forged in her tenure at the UBCM have made it possible to weigh in on issues like abandoned vessels, dumping of waste in the harbour, or salmon quotas.

“Right now, we’re facing a new challenge as the RCMP is unionized, a move that will probably result in increased costs and challenges to municipalities like Sooke,” Tait said.

“It’s something that we’re likely to discuss at the UBCM to get a consistent approach developed to deal with the situation.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation looks to grow funding for memory garden

Foundation will start new campaign next month as it wraps up recruitment campaign

Survey says 27% of Victoria employers look to hire this quarter

Another 13 % of employers anticipate cutbacks

UPDATED: Heavy police presence in Victoria had part of Bay Street blocked off

Bay Street east of Quadra Street was blocked off on Saturday

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Most Read