UBCM 2018 – The full report.

Final Updates – Meetings with EMBC and Ministers and the Plastic and Marine Response Resolutions.

This is the final update for this report. I ‘ve updated the whole document so that the headings are by day in reverse order, with Friday starting after this section and Sunday at the bottom.

Definitely the best part of the week came on Friday morning.  We went through a huge amount of Resolutions very quickly (which is an indication of unanimous support, or nearly).

Important Resolutions Considered:

Some highlights were the West Coast Marine Response motion that the City of Port Alberni brought forward in April to AVICC.  It received near unanimous assent from the provincial delegates. You can see more about that motion in my notes from AVICC and this news report.  I was also interviewed about it on CBC Radio on September 18.

There was also a very important motion from the Central Coast Regional District and backed up by a motion off the floor from Director Tony Bennett of Long Beach urging the Federal Government to initiate funding transfers to First Nations in order to make up the infrastructure deficit in rural communities. See more here:

“The CCRD’s resolution asks the federal government to make up the shortfall in its general operation funding by representing the residents that live on reserve and provide the remaining funds in the form of federal transfer payments.

The resolution carried unanimously with no speakers against,” said [Allison] Sayers. “It was followed immediately by an off-the-floor resolution calling on UBCM to hold a provincial community to community forum on the resolution with local government and First Nations governing bodies, as well as a three hour workshop on the topic at 2019 convention.”

And Finally I brought forward the Ocean Plastics resolution right after Director Bennet’s resolution. It passed very strongly.  

Continue reading “UBCM 2018 – The full report.”

Live Blog of a Webinar with Ministry of Environment on new Open Burning Smoke Control Regs

I am about to join a Webinar on the OBSCR regs.  This webinar is directed toward large forestry users. Refresh to see updates.

Here’s the description:

The B.C. Ministry of Environment is currently working on proposed revisions to the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation. The ministry would like to share details of the current proposal with stakeholders, seek feedback and answer questions. This webinar is aimed at large forestry operators who hold large tenures and burn large amounts of debris as part of their operations.

This should be pretty interesting!  Hopefully I can share what is said widely. I’ll share what I can. I figured this would be easier on the live blog than taking notes and compiling later…

1PM Start!  Updates down the page…
MOE is making the presentation.
Open Burning is the largest source of fine particulate matter pollution in BC.

“Open Burning has been identified has been identified as a significant contributor in the communities” in certain communities (Port Alberni is one of the 3 on the Island).

A little history on the OBSCR:

 

OBSCR is not meant to forbid but rather limit and prescribe where, when and how open burning can happen.

New regulation is about “tweaking the requirements” rather than adding to.

Not all types of open fires are covered under OBSCR:

Mostly “pile burns” are what are regulated by OBSCR.

“In particular the communities mentioned  exceeding the national standards… are making efforts [Port Alberni has been pushing! :))] and province should in their purview as well”.

“We are now back to a push to bring changes to our Minister [Heyman]”

 

 

Here we go to see what is being proposed:

 

Mapping is not yet completed yet. [But we can assume Port Alberni is likely to be in a HSSZ).

“It’s really where people live” in terms of HSSZ or MSSZ.

 

1.5 to 2 times more “burn days” in Low Smoke Sensitivity Zone.

[Comment from Chris:  This is concerning to me, they are basically talking about making it easier in low sensitivity zones. This might be fine, if the zones are large enough that it truly does not impact communities.  It will all come down to the maps they generate!]

2018 is actually harder on low sensitivity areas than 2016. This is good!

Next Part looks a little more like some bureaucratic detail that is less relevant to communities. More geared to remote areas/forestry.

Important slide for communities below!

Important addition below… taking into account Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

 

Directors powers:

 

Important change! OBSCR will now apply to any burn with burn greater than 10cm… bylaws from local government can further restrict if able under other legislation.

Reporting is not required currently… and is not proposed to happen yet.  This is done for emissions calculations. There is a carbon pricing mandate at the Ministry of Environment so they want to ensure they are not “counting twice”.

 

 

“many things could delay this timing”…

That’s it for the presentation.

“There is definitely a tension between air quality and wildfire goals… but we are not working cross-purposes”.

 

“A significant amount of the burning that wildfire service undertakes is outside the scope of OBSCR already”, so no effect from these changes.

Why are setbacks not ‘ an order of magnitude larger’.

“The setbacks are one of a suite of tools… in concert with venting requirements… limits”.

Final maps will be very detailed topographically and so take into account air sheds and communities within them.

I am going to end it there.  Great to see this moving forward!  I guess we just have to wait a little longer until fall hopefully to actually see new regulation. It sounds like we will have to go through one more open burning season before new rules take effect.

 

AVICC 2018 – Conference Live Blog Friday to Sunday

FINAL UPDATES.  Post is from Friday to Sunday, Top to Bottom.

Another year another AVICC conference!

This one is shaping up to be very busy again.  I will semi-live blog it throughout the weekend.  Which means posting updates here throughout the next three days.

Just yesterday given development in the news I asked that we bring forward a late motion to the floor on Sunday morning titled:

“WEST COAST MARINE SPILL RESPONSE GUARANTEE”

 

Here is the full text that we will be handing out:

Check out the poll on the side of this page to register your opinion on this question!

Aside from that, there is the usual wide array of conference sessions and materials to consider.  Things are already getting underway this morning but I am at VIU until at least 1PM this afternoon before I’ll be driving down with Councillor Minions.  I believe Councillor Sauvé and Washington are already there, Councillor Paulson is coming today and Mayor Ruttan is attending Saturday/Sunday.

Here is the Convention Program, we hope to be there by 4PM for Premier Horgan’s address this afternoon at 4PM.

You can see all of the materials from the conference including the resolutions being considered here. 

I haven’t gone through them all yet. Will have to do that later this evening. The next update will likely come Saturday morning as we start into sessions and the business of the Convention.  See you soon!  Also watch out for live video feeds. Depending on WIFI performance and battery life on my phone. 🙂

Lots has happened since I arrived here around 2PM on Friday.

Councillor Minions and I carpooled down Friday afternoon. We arrived in time to catch some of the afternoon sessions as well as the address by the Premier.

As we arrived, the Keynote from Charles Montgomery, author of Happy City was just wrapping up. From the wikipage:

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design is a 2013 book written by the Canadian author Charles Montgomery. Gathering insights from the disciplines of psychology, neuroscience, urban planning and Montgomery’s own social experiments, the book makes the case that the manner in which we build our cities alters the way in which we feel, think, and behave as individuals and as a society. Montgomery argues that the happy city, the green city, and the low-carbon city are the same place, and we can all help build it.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7

There were great questions from the floor, this is something that needs to be on our collective reading lists.

Next was Premier Horgan’s adress. I live streamed it on Facebook, you can view it here, no login required.

Housing Session 4:45PM — This session was an update from BC Housing

$7B over 10 years in 2018 budget is the most in one province ever. Federal bilateral agreement coming soon. The stars are aligned.  Must create housing that matches need on the ground. In past has not matched.

This is one of the biggest issues in our province and country and the revenues are now being directed for a huge push.

To Zone for Rental. Property tax exemptions. –  Revitalization tax bylaw required first. The housing continuum… far left gets most press. Also working on far right important for fental and home ownership.

Need to get in on Housing Hub for Port Alberni. BC Housing is hiring additional staff for the staff to meet need. Tiny homes are not a panacea… they take a lot of land. 

BC Housing can’t mortgage them when they come in on wheels. Working on a Homeless Action Plan – from a prevention program perspective. Housing Agreements :  Peer to Peer program will be created to help Local Government work with tools like housing agreements.

7AM Saturday Morning – Social Procurement

Town of QB Social Procurement Policy 6000-3. Using the polivy to re work their Memorial Drive with a pedestrian and cycling separate path and realign dangerous intersection.

Social procurement is something we are working hard on in Port Alberni.  The Canadian Mental Health Association has had a farm on Beaver Creek Road (across from COOP) that has adhered to these principles. They are a great example.

The really interesting part about the AVICC presentation was the notion that it is about more than just helping the disadvantaged in any particular town and building that into every city project. It is about all sorts of different “social” values that the community can set that would ensure that no matter what project is ongoing at the City, the outcome reflects the community more deeply than just paving a street.

More notes from the presentation:
VICA is training, 6 weeks class 3 weeks on site.  100% of contractors said they would use potential individual if trained and available.

Social value is about more than just employing people. It is about what the community values, indigenous, environment, people.
POSSIBLE MOTION Bring membership in social hub forward to council?

Resolutions Saturday!

The rest of Saturday morning was taken up by the actual business of the conference which is mostly considering and debating motions.  It was actually quite an active session (You can see all the motions at the links at the top of the page).  The most contentious one that got the most debate was whether we should ask the BC Government to put Local Government councillors, mayors and directors back on a 3 year rotation rather than 4 years between election.

After lots of good points on both sides… most of which I agreed with on both sides, we had a close vote to keep it at 4 years. The argument for 3 years boiled down mostly to ensuring people were not scared off by the longer commitment and to give more opportunity for voters to have a say.  The argument for 4 years was that there was a much better chance to get things accomplished, particularly for new people (like myself) and it provided more ability for the community to see what a council actually could achieve before “silly season” of an election year hit.

I personally lean toward the 4 years for both of those reasons. Also this is only the first term that we have had 4 years between local elections. I think it is worth giving it another term or two before we go back to the Province and say it was a mistake to try this out.

ICF UPDATE

Later on Saturday we got an update from the outgoing ICF CEO.  There was not a lot of new information, but it is good to hear the entire report from the source. There was no lack of interest. The small room it was confined to was packed.

Sunday Early Morning!

Sundays are always difficult after a long evening of networking the night before! But we hunkered down at 8AM to get back into it.  We heard from Minister Selena Robinson who is “our Minister” for Local Government. She is Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing]. Apologies, no video feed as my phone was acting badly.

She spoke of the need to address the housing crisis among other things. I was also very impressed to hear her mention climate change in our remarks and the fact that the impacts of climate change will affect local community infrastructure the most. That is where we will need to focus a huge amount of senior government dollars in order to adapt to the changes that are already here and coming soon.  I like to think that the little bit of pushing we at the City of Port Alberni did at the UBCM last September to highlight the impacts of recent flooding that has occurred more frequently, likely due in part to climate change, maybe played a role in her making that mention.

After all the talking was finished, we finally got back to the Resolutions. There was a lot of concern we would not have time to get to the one that the City of Port Alberni wanted to bring forward about Oil Spill Response but lo- and- behold we got there with just 20 minutes left in the morning!

A huge thanks to Councillors Sauvé and Minions for helping distribute the papers on all the tables on both days and also to Councillor Kirby from Oak Bay who was very active and helped both distribute and talk to people abut the importance of the motion.

The great thing about these conferences is the people you meet and learn from and the friendships you build.  This was a great example of one of those friendships helping to pass an important resolution for our community.  I hope the AVICC writes that letter soon and we see some movement from the Governments of BC and Canada to guarantee those oil spill response bases on our coast.

And that… with about 5 minutes to spare… was it!!