Deer headed for UBCM debate

More than 150 resolutions are on the table in Vancouver

Four members of Oak Bay council head to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention next week (Sept 21 to 25).

Mayor Nils Jensen, also a UBCM director, is among the local attendees heading to Vancouver for the annual event to share ideas and peruse more than 150 resolutions put forward for support by communities from around the province.

“I’ve found over the years these have been very effective of bringing issues to the premier or ministers,” Jensen said.

As the CRD chair, Jensen, along with directors Victoria Coun. Marianne Alto and Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor, plan to meet with the premier regarding First Nations engagement in the Capital Region and beyond. Alto serves as chair of the First Nations Task Force both on a CRD First Nations Task Force formed earlier this year to explore local aboriginal communities interest in bringing their governments into the CRD decision-making framework.

“We’re hoping to get the province to review the governance structure of regional governments to allow First Nation representation on regional governments. Right now there are barriers,” Jensen said.

Municipal council members will also debate and vote on a number of resolutions from around the province.

“The main part is to do with resolutions where we as a collective of provincial municipalities look at the issues and make recommendations to the province,” Jensen said. “It covers a wide range of issues.”

Resolutions range from provisions on mental health and addiction services (brought forward by Delta) to the popular environmental bill of rights supported by many communities including the CRD.

An Oak Bay-generated resolution that went to AVICC then was forwarded to UBCM calls on the provincial government to provide leadership and funding regarding urban deer.

“Their role is particularly important given that these are provincial deer that are found in urban areas,” Jensen said. “They have downloaded the issue of deer to local governments. It certainly can be a costly for municipalities to deal with what is in essence a provincial issue.”

A handful of mayors from around B.C. with similar concerns over deer populations in their communities have “banded together,” he said, to meet with officials from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, which looks after the management of deer and other wildlife.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities convention runs Sept. 21 through 25 in Vancouver.

Visit ubcm.ca to read more on the resolutions municipal politicians will discuss and vote on during the 2015 convention.