I attended the last half of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) conference in Victoria last week. I did not attend on Monday and Tuesday because I had to work.
I mostly attend UBCM for the ministerial meetings and talk to people in an informal setting. My own priorities for ministerial meetings were:
- Sage Mesa water: an annual plea for (a) some action on the system one way or another and (b) a generic request for money. Who knows what is going to happen here. The provincial and federal government announced another round of funding for water and sewer infrastructure on the closing day of the conference. The Sage Mesa system is not eligible for any of this because it is privately owned. Oh well, other jurisdictions in BC are happy to spend their grant money.
- Substituted requirements for methane capture at Campbell Mountain Landfill (CMLF): This is a technical topic so I attended the meeting with Minister Mary Polack along with a large contingent from the RDOS. The RDOS wants to use bio-cover instead of an active methane capture system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at CMLF. The province may let us do this if we can prove bio-cover is effective on the scale we are proposing. Much of the meeting was spent quibbling about the specific requirements for "proof". The difference between what they want and we want to provide in terms of pilot testing is about $300K. I am hopeful that this meeting will yield a more cost effective compromise for the pilot test requirement.
- Annexation of the West Bench by Penticton: This was on Penticton's ministerial agenda, not the RDOS's. Unfortunately the meeting was scheduled for Tuesday so I could not attend. The ask from the City of Penticton was for money for a study of economic and political feasibility. I generally support such a study because that is what it is--a study. A boundary extension entails pros and cons for both the West Bench and the City and we want to get these enumerated and discussed.