The Union of BC Municipalities conference (UBCM) kicked off on Monday, September 16 which means four busy days for Vanderhoof’s councillors.
The point is to network with government officials to get input and ideas on problems in communities like Vanderhoof.
There are several important topics that councillors will attend that could help shape what Vanderhoof will look like in the years to come.
“We’re going to be talking to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources,” said Gerry Thiessen, mayor of Vanderhoof. “Certainly forestry in our community is a big thing, we’ve applied for a community forest and we’re working with L&M on securing that. Also we have a couple mills in our area where fibre supply is a big issue.”
Councillors will also speak with the Minister of Sport Coralee Oaks about the new swimming pool.
“There’s some pretty interesting conferences to go to, said councillor Brian Frenkel. “I think a lot of legwork starts at these conferences, the heavy lifting is done when you get back on projects and things but I think we go to meet next week ministers of forests, sports tourism and culture.
Both the Minister of Advanced Education and the Minister of Education will also be resources for Vanderhoof to tap in regards to new facilities for the College of New Caledonia.
“The facility is totally inadequate and there’s a plan that has asked for a new building to be built in Vanderhoof so we’re going to be talking to Minister’s Virk and Fassbender on that issue.”
Council will also speak with Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton about new berms to be built in Vanderhoof in order to mitigate potential floods.
So councillors will be rushing from meeting to meeting in Vancouver from September 16 to 20. Thiessen said that it’s possible that he would have 14 hour days fully booked with conferences, meetings and workshops.
The councillors voted back in August to pay the transportation fees for councillors’ spouses to attend the UBCM conference.
“This has always been the practice in the past that spouses who are able to attend do attend. This year I think only one spouse can attend,” said Thiessen. “It’s a huge time commitment to be at council, they give their time, their evenings and we work right through dinner hour and right into the evening so I think there has to be one period of time that spouses are able to just be part of the group and get a better understanding of the responsibilities that their partner has.”
The spouses don’t receive any per diems or any coverage other than transportation.