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Downloading, costs top issues for mayors in BC
Emerging themes from the mayor’s caucus late last month in Oak Bay include the “spiralling cost of policing and fire fighting,” affordable housing, environment and transportation across the board.
“It was a very worthwhile meeting. Mayors also got a lot of opportunity to network and learn about best practices in other communities,” said Mayor Nils Jensen, who chaired the 2017 BC Mayors’ Caucus in Oak Bay.
“One of the purposes of our meeting was to identify some themes we wanted considered during the upcoming election,” Jensen said.
Ahead of the meet, they did a survey of mayors across B.C., not just attendees.
“We found a surprising commonality across north, south, small, large. What we identified significantly was the need to focus during the election on three things,” Jensen said. “Public infrastructure and the need for provincial and federal programs to have renewal grants for those; job creation (and) economic development was particularly cited by Vancouver Island mayors as a focus; thirdly was the issue of the overall cost of governments.
He offers two Oak Bay examples: the seawall, turned over by the federal government to the municipality to maintain at significant cost and environmental regulations “imposed on local governments that require significant funding commitments.”
To wrap the event, primarily hosted at Oak Bay Beach Hotel, CFB Esquimalt hosted delegates in tours of a frigate and the new Cape Breton Fleet Maintenance Facility.
“I think it gave the mayors a real understanding of the role the navy plays in not only protecting us but in any emergency situation should it occur in British Columbia,” said Jensen. “Our role is to ensure the local government issues are properly examined and debated during the election so the voter can make an informed choice.”