Oak Bay mayor and council will be bringing Oak Bay’s issues to a bigger table, as they attend the annual Union of of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver next week.
The UBCM convention, from Sept. 25 to 29 brings together mayors, councillors and regional district officials, as well as provincial and federal politicians and senior bureaucrats from all over the province to explore issues and discuss problems.
Kicking things off on Monday will be an informal dinner with Oak Bay MLA Andrew Weaver, something Mayor Nils Jensen said is part of establishing a better connection with other levels of government.
“It’s a meet and greet and finding out what’s his agenda for the next few years and how we can support each other to the benefit of our mutual constituents,” Jensen said.
Bigger issues at UBCM however will be the regulation of marijuana and how to deal with derelict vessels on B.C. coasts, Oak Bay and Saanich included. Marijuana in particular raises question of not only how it will be regulated, but who will be in charge to enforce those rules.
”Questions will come up as to how’s it going to be regulated by the province, and what kind of dispensaries or outlets should we expect in Oak Bay,” Jensen said, adding there’s one option the province has, which is leaving it up to the municipality, unlike Ontario, which provincially regulates marijuana.
“We’ll have to wrestle with it as a community, or leave it up to the pharmacies.”
On Tuesday, council members take part in education programs and workshops, while Jensen said he will try to set up a meeting with the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to advance the issue of derelict boats to the forefront of Oak Bay’s agenda.
With more than 100 resolutions planned, the convention will also debate other motions from throughout B.C. including controlling rat populations and the opioid crisis that has engulfed the province.