Deer, oil, mental health on AVICC radar

Delegates approve resolution calling for provincial help dealing with deer

An Oak Bay resolution saw major support at the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities gathering last weekend. Some 250 delegates attended the annual general meeting and convention in Courtenay, where Oak Bay’s call for provincial help dealing with deer met with a positive response.

“It called for the province to play a more co-ordinating role in deer management,” said Mayor Nils Jensen.

The resolution, passed at the convention, requests the province provide increased support and expertise for deer management issues and helping build partnerships with other levels of government.

“That resolution will now be presented to the Union of B.C. Municipalities in September for consideration,” Jensen said. “That was an important resolution and if the province eventually acts on it, I think it will be good for not only Oak Bay but for the region.”

Policing and mental health

The gathered municipal politicians also discussed a recurring problem facing local police.

“This is a very challenging issue right across British Columbia and has been a subject of the mayors’ caucus a number of years ago,” Jensen said.

“Right now the police are often left to be the mental health workers on the street and they’re not trained for that, they’re not funded for that and it has caused a significant drain financially and socially. People are not getting the proper help and some are getting drawn into the criminal justice system when they should be in the health system.”

The AVICC passed a resolution calling on the province to treat the problem as a mental health issue and to fund integrated services

“(UBCM) is having a meeting with the minister of justice in the next few days, where they will also discuss this issue,” Jensen said.



Vancouver spill spurs late resolution

A concern voiced previously by Oak Bay, with its vast coastline, also made an appearance at AVICC last weekend, triggered by the English Bay oil spill.

“AVICC took a much broader perspective on what happened there,” Jensen said. “[It] really expressed a concern Oak Bay has expressed before: Are we ready to deal with an oil spill on our shores?”

The approved resolution calls on the province to do an independent audit of oil spill response preparedness.

“What we saw in Vancouver was there were some apparent gaps in the response to the oil spill,” Jensen said.

“We have so much coastline, and not very far off our coastline is constant tanker traffic … Whether or not we increase the oil flow to Asia, we have high traffic already.”