Mayor and council chats issues with Cabinet at UBCM conference
During the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ (UBCM) conference in Vancouver last week, Mayor Wayne Stetski and council were able to meet with Premier Christy Clark and eight different members of the Provincial Cabinet to discuss issues important to the city and the region.
“We really appreciated the Premier, the Cabinet Ministers, and their senior staff, taking the time to meet with us last week,” says Mayor Stetski. “While the meetings are short and often referred to as speed dating, the purpose is to ensure that the Provincial Government is aware of what is important to the citizens of Cranbrook, so that when funding becomes available they know we are here.”
The issue of managing urban wildlife, particularly deer, was one of two topics discussed with Premier Clark and the Honourable Steve Thompson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Council expressed the need to have additional tools available around management other than culling.
Mayor Stetski, along with other mayors who together form the Highway 3 Coalition, sat down with Premier Clark and the Honourable Todd Stone, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) to talk about issues facing communities along the Highway 3 corridor. Council also had an opportunity to discuss the potential of an overpass/underpass across Highway 3 with senior MOTI staff.
Around education, council met with the Honourable Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education to inquire about possible future conversion of the College of the Rockies to a University College. The replacement of Mount Baker Secondary School and Key City Theatre was the focus of a meeting with the Honourable Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education.
The status of the proposed Salvation Army homeless shelter project in Cranbrook, the commitment of the ministry to and the timeline for the project was the topic for council’s meeting with the Honourable Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing.
A meeting with Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Pat Pimm, was set up to discuss the potential development of a greenhouse industry in the City and funding opportunities around such a program. This comes on the heels of the city being named a BC Solar Community this past spring.
The developing relationship between the City of Cranbrook and both Taicang, China and Wonju, South Korea was brought up in a meeting with the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, the Honourable Shirley Bond. Trade, business and tourism opportunities with Asia, along with opportunities for cultural exchanges of dancers, artists and musicians were also discussed with the minister.
And the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, the Honourable Coralee Oakes, met with council. Outdated planning legislation with the main concerns being cumbersome procedures for minor variances was brought up by council. The inability to issue development permits for discretionary uses and definitions for Preliminary Layout Approvals (PLA) was also discussed.
“Many of the concerns we brought up were not news to the Cabinet Ministers,” Mayor Stetski noted, adding, “It was very clear that our MLA Bill Bennett has ensured that they are well aware of our interests, and we very much appreciate his support.”
City of Cranbrook