2009 Resolution Responses

B1 MUNICIPAL BYLAW FINES Courtenay

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Government of British Columbia amend the Community Charter to provide local governments other methods of collecting outstanding Municipal Ticket Information (MTI) tickets including legislative changes.

Convention Decision: Endorsed as Amended

Provincial Response: MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY & RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Property taxes and unpaid fees or charges are directly related to the cost of services provided by a municipality.  Property taxes are not intended to be punitive in nature and as such are not a suitable method for collecting unpaid Municipal Ticket Information fines.

Municipalities currently have the ability to collect unpaid fines through either a collection agency or small claims court.  These methods are common to local governments across Canada and have proven to be effective.

B2 COMMUNITY JUSTICE Nanaimo RD

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the provincial government find more efficient and effective ways to address delays in the court system in order to reduce the administration impact on police services and thereby improve overall police services to our communities.

Convention Decision: Endorsed

Provincial Response: MINISTRY OF ATTORNEY GENERAL & MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SAFETY & SOLICITOR GENERAL

All provincial justice agencies and branches are working collaboratively to develop initiatives to make the criminal justice system more efficient and effective. To inform this process, we have commissioned a review of best practices by the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform. At this time, we are examining what practical pilot projects could be launched to test new approaches to improve the delivery of justice services in British Columbia. In the next year we will focus on addressing priority issues without financial resource impacts.

We are also engaged with the federal government and other Canadian jurisdictions at the Federal / Provincial / Territorial table to identify and implement reforms that will improve justice system efficiencies, including delays in the courts.

At the same time, we are piloting several initiatives that are testing new models for improved justice efficiency and effectiveness, including the Downtown Community Court in Vancouver, the Prolific Offender Management project in six BC communities and the Bail Reform Project in the Peace and Fraser regions. Lessons learned from these initiatives will be evaluated and those elements that work best may be implemented elsewhere in the province.

B19 ENABLING LEGISLATION TO ALLOW MUNICIPALITIES TO CREATE BLANKET SPEED ZONES  Central Saanich

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of BC Municipalities reiterate its previous request to the Minister of Transportation that the necessary amendments be made to the Motor Vehicle Act to allow municipalities to implement blanket speed zones in residential areas, and on other municipal roadways as deemed appropriate.

Convention Decision: Endorsed

Provincial Response: MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

Within a municipality, the Motor Vehicle Act establishes a default speed limit of 50 km/h.  To vary this speed limit, the municipality must pass a bylaw and post signs on all affected streets so that a motorist can reasonably be expected to know the applicable speed limit.

For several years, various municipalities and UBCM have requested an amendment to the Act to provide authority to municipalities to establish, by bylaw, blanket speed zones that would apply to defined areas within a municipality.  Under this scheme, speed limit signs would be placed at entrances to the defined areas where the posted speed limit was different than 50 km/h.  For example, Vancouver wants to implement 40 km/h blanket speed zones in many residential areas as a means to better accommodate active transportation and improve pedestrian safety.  Vancouver is currently consulting with stakeholders, including other municipalities in the Lower Mainland, TransLink, and the BC Association of Chiefs of Police in respect of this concept.

Within a municipality or with many roads across adjacent municipalities providing access to a defined area, the possibility of a motorist not being aware of the applicable speed limit is an issue.  Criminal Justice Branch is concerned that the use of blanket speed zones in an urban environment may result in (1) a patchwork of speed limits, and (2) challenges to speeding tickets on the basis that motorists cannot reasonably know the applicable speed limits established by bylaws and posted only at entrances to defined areas.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure advises that UBCM and municipal proponents of blanket speed zones need to develop a solid case for the requested amendment, one that addresses the issues of enforcement. The Ministry is looking forward to the results of Vancouver’s stakeholder consultations regarding the use of blanket speed zones in the Lower Mainland.

B41 REGULATION OF NUISANCES ON PRIVATE MANAGED FOREST LAND  Sunshine Coast RD

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of British Columbia Municipalities urge the provincial government and the Private Managed Forest Land Council to provide local government the authority to regulate nuisances such as noise on private managed forest lands within the urban interface.

Convention Decision: Endorsed

Provincial Response: MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE & LANDS

Section 21 of the Private Managed Forest Land Act (PMFLA) constrains local governments from adopting a bylaw or issuing a permit that would have the effect of directly or indirectly restricting forest management activity. Private forest operators must adhere to local bylaws that came into force prior to land entering the managed forest program.

Forestry activities may potentially involve noisy equipment and machinery. Land owners may need to run the machinery long hours over limited days of duration in order to keep operations financially viable. Requiring private managed forest land owners to adhere to noise bylaws could significantly affect the economics of forestry activities.

Many of British Columbia’s private forest lands have been used for forestry for a very long time. It is important to recognize and respect this historic use of land, particularly as residential areas expand into proximity with lands used for industrial purposes. At the same time, it is important for owners of private managed forest land to be sensitive to community concerns about noise, and accommodate such concerns where feasible.

Other Response:PRIVATE MANAGED FOREST LAND COUNCIL

The Private Managed Forest Land Act (the Act) establishes forest management objectives for water quality, fish habitat, soil conservation, critical wildlife habitat, and reforestation on private managed forest land. Under the Act, the Council is empowered to make regulations respecting each of these forest management objectives except for critical wildlife habitat. The Council is not permitted to make regulations for matters not specifically set out in the Act. Accordingly the Council does not have any jurisdiction respecting the regulation of noise related issues on private managed forest land.

The Council understands that noise issues related to timber harvesting periodically occur on private managed forest land. When the Council has become aware of specific complaints respecting noise or other matters not within our jurisdiction, we have encouraged the complainant to contact the owner directly. We also encourage owners to discuss these types of issues with the complainant and to make best efforts to find a solution that is workable for each of the parties.

B42 COMPENSATION FOR LARGE SCALE MINING ACTIVITIES Sechelt

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province of BC be requested to put in place a mechanism that would allow local government to receive financial compensation.

Convention Decision: Endorsed

Provincial Response: MINISTRY OF ENERGY, MINES & PETROLEUM RESOURCES

Mining creates over 10,000 direct jobs with an average annual wage of $112,000. In 2008, more than 28,000 people were employed in the minerals economy in over 50 BC communities.

Mining also contributes to local economies with: business opportunities, economic diversification, infrastructure development and skills development opportunities for local residents and First Nations peoples. Since 2005, the Province has contributed nearly $5 million in funding for mining education and skills training for individuals in rural and First Nations communities.

The British Columbia Mining Plan has continued to provide guidance to the mining industry by focusing on inclusiveness and supporting benefits such as employment and business opportunities for local communities. The mining approval processes (both Environmental Assessment and Mine Permitting) include opportunities for local communities to ensure appropriate mitigation of social and environmental impacts, protection of health and safety and enhancement of local benefits. Taxes and royalties paid by the mining industry go to provide health and education needs in every community in BC. Taxes and direct expenditures by the mining industry support infrastructure development such as roads, community centres and local sponsorships. Hundreds of mining supply businesses in local communities around the Province are sustained by mines.

B45 RESTORATION OF BC HYDRO MANDATE Highlands

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that BC Hydro have its mandate restored to look for opportunities to develop sustainable alternative energy sources.

Convention Decision:Endorsed

Provincial Response: MINISTRY OF ENERGY, MINES & PETROLEUM RESOURCES

The BC Energy Plan clearly states government’s commitment to public ownership of BC Hydro and its assets, while broadening the supply of available energy. BC Hydro is investing more than $3.6 billion over the next two years to upgrade its dams and other public power infrastructure. The BC Energy Plan focuses on innovative, sustainable energy solutions for British Columbia.

Clean, renewable electricity accounts for over 90 per cent of total generation, and combined with aggressive conservation targets, places our province among the top jurisdictions in the world. A typical clean, renewable power project will require more than 50 permits, licences, approvals and reviews from 14 regulatory bodies, including federal and provincial agencies, local governments and First Nations. Clean, renewable power projects are just one part of B.C.’s energy mix.

The long-term transmission inquiry being conducted by the BC Utilities Commission is a public process and will identify areas in the province with high levels of clean and renewable generation potential, taking into account areas that may be inappropriate for development, and the most efficient transmission infrastructure to deliver that electricity to customers. The recent decision by BCUC does not shut the door on clean and renewable power projects. In fact, just a few weeks ago BCUC accepted electricity purchase agreements with four biomass projects.

Other Response: BC HYDRO

BC Hydro is the largest utility in British Columbia, operating 31 hydroelectric facilities and three thermal generating plants across the province. As a provincial Crown corporation, we receive guidance from the Province, our Shareholder, through several policy instruments, including a Shareholder’s Letter of Expectation and The BC Energy Plan: A Vision for Clean Energy Leadership.

The BC Energy Plan directs BC Hydro to look to all forms of clean and renewable energy options as well as demand side management measures to meet the future energy needs of British Columbians.

Included among these initiatives is a goal for BC Hydro to acquire 50 per cent of incremental resource needs through energy conservation and efficiency by 2020, while at the same time requiring that:

  • All new electricity projects developed in BC will have zero net greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Existing thermal generation power plants will reach zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2016.
  • Clean or renewable electricity generation will continue to account for at least 90 per cent of total generation, placing the province’s standard among the top jurisdictions in the world.

The Energy Plan also commits that British Columbia will be electricity self-sufficient by 2016. To achieve this goal, BC Hydro has commenced a multi-billion dollar capital investment program to upgrade our heritage assets, launched a world leading demand side management program, acquired additional clean and renewable power from Independent Power Producers and is investigating a potential new generation site (Site C) on the Peace River.

All of the initiatives mentioned previously are being undertaken with an underlying goal of providing British Columbians with the benefits of clean, low-cost, reliable power for generations to come.

B66 SAFER COMMUNITIES AND NEIGHBOURHOODS Courtenay

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Government of British Columbia work with UBCM to create or improve existing legislation in order to address the public disorder and neighbourhood deterioration caused by illicit drug houses, problem addresses, businesses and the issues associated with them.

Convention Decision: Endorsed as Amended

Provincial Response: MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND SOLICITOR GENERAL

Drug houses and the problems associated with them are a concern in many communities in British Columbia.

The Government has been examining ways to support local residents in their efforts to increase the security of their neighbourhoods. This includes looking to other jurisdictions and their responses to disruptive drug, party and crack houses, including the introduction of legislation to empower communities to address the problems associated with these properties.

There are a number of communities that have utilized provisions existing under the Community Charter to enact nuisance bylaws where public health and safety risks related to drug or party houses are an issue. These Controlled Substance Property bylaws, including those in Surrey, Port Coquitlam and the Town of Gibsons, can serve as a model for other municipalities experiencing similar problems with these houses.

Other existing supports for communities include information developed by the Criminal Justice Reform Secretariat. The Crime Prevention Guide (www.criminaljusticereform.gov.bc.ca) offers guidance to assist communities in responding safety concerns in their neighbourhoods.

B89 AGRICULTURE FUNDING Highlands

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the provincial government increase financial support for agriculture consistent with the national average and cease approving any further Agricultural Land Reserve exclusions.

Convention Decision: Endorsed

Provincial Response: MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND LANDS, AGRICULTURE LAND COMMISSION

Agriculture in B.C. is very different from agriculture in other provinces such as Saskatchewan. Government support and program payments depend not only on crop/commodity differences, but weather events and disease outbreaks, as well as market challenges and market opportunities.

B.C. is unlike most other provinces in that a high proportion of agriculture is in supply managed sectors. These sectors typically do not receive direct government expenditures except in unusual circumstances, such as Avian Influenza.

The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a provincial land use zone in favour of agriculture administered by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). The ALR is primarily intended to preserve BC’s limited agricultural land base and to provide land use certainty to encourage agricultural businesses. The purposes of the ALC are to preserve agricultural land, to encourage farming and to work with local governments and First Nations at a planning level to enable and accommodate farm use of agricultural land.

The ALC recognizes that the ALR should be based on agricultural land capability and suitability for a diverse range of agricultural products. The ALC works closely with local governments to encourage farming on agricultural land as well as in reviewing official community plans, bylaws and other planning documents. On occasion these reviews may prompt a review of the ALR boundaries. In addition, the ALC believes it would be a useful exercise to work with local governments in reviewing the ALR boundaries in certain areas of the province to ensure the boundaries reflect lands that are both capable and suitable for agriculture. Based on the findings of applications the ALC has a particular interest in working with several communities in the northern and eastern parts of the province.

B90 COSTS OF RESPONDING TO PROVINCIAL REFERRALS  Sunshine Coast RD

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of BC Municipalities lobby the provincial government to provide funding to offset the costs of responding to the large number of referrals.

Convention Decision: Endorsed

Provincial Response:INTEGRATED LAND MANAGEMENT BUREAU

All levels of government are experiencing similar resourcing challenges, particularly in urban areas. The Integrated Land Management Bureau (ILMB), like all natural resource agencies, lacks the resources to provide funding to local governments. Through programs like FrontCounter BC, the Resource Management Coordination Project, and Natural Resource Authorization Coordination, ILMB strives to streamline applications to reduce the financial burden associated with processing referrals for all parties.

There may be additional opportunities to reduce costs by developing common sources of information and data. Federal-provincial databases have been used in the past for coordinating referrals in the lower mainland. Broadening these systems to provide access to local governments could be mutually beneficial.

Any endorsed resolutions below have been conveyed to the relevant provincial or federal government department, or other organizations as appropriate. Sponsors will be notified of responses as they are received, and responses will be posted on the UBCM website.

B98 ELECTED OFFICIALS AS VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS Sayward

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of BC Municipalities request the provincial government to amend the Local Government Act, Division 5, Section 67 to exempt volunteer firefighters from being designated as employees for election purposes.

Convention Decision: Not Considered – Automatic Referral to Executive

Executive Decision: Referred to Elections Task Force

B100 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTION DATE Campbell River

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the provincial government amend the Local Government Act to move the local government election date from the third Saturday in November to the third Saturday in October.

Convention Decision: Not Considered – Automatic Referral to Executive

Executive Decision: Not Endorsed

B107 NEED FOR INTEGRATED SUSTAINABLE ENERGY PLANNING PROCESS  Strathcona RD

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM request the government of British Columbia to immediately enact a province wide integrated sustainable energy planning process to determine the need for the best technology to be used and any new siting of sustainable energy production.

Convention Decision: Not Considered – Automatic Referral to Executive

Executive Decision: Endorsed

B111 CLIMATE ACTION SERVICES  View Royal

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province establish a service for the purpose of advising local governments on matters related to carbon tax, quotas, and opportunities for carbon tax credit rebates and other allied matters.

Convention Decision: Not Considered – Automatic Referral to Executive

Executive Decision: Endorsed as Amended

B136 COMMUNITY WATERSHEDS  Port Alberni

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of BC Municipalities request the provincial government to develop, implement and fund a strategy whereby the appropriate mix of land use regulation and local ownership of community watersheds be applied for the security of our precious municipal water sources.

Convention Decision: Not Considered – Automatic Referral to Executive

Executive Decision: Referred to April 2010 Executive Meeting

B137 INDEPENDENT POWER PROJECTS Tofino

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province take a leadership role when granting environmental permits and land tenures within British Columbia relating to the development of independent power projects by:

  • Developing, in consultation with local governments, First Nations, industry, the public and regulatory stakeholders, clear and measurable criteria by which to evaluate independent power production projects against community social, land use and environmental values and an agreed upon “green energy” standard for both the generation and power line components of the projects;
  • Establishing standards for transmission line development that require optimization of existing power lines infrastructure and shared use of lines as a condition of right-of-way agreements and provide regulatory authority to require shared use as a condition of licensing and recognizing and protecting scenic value zones in areas of high tourism activity;
  • Establishing an independent monitoring function to ensure accountability and enforcement of conditions and standards applied to independent power production projects.

Convention Decision: Not Considered – Automatic Referral to Executive

Executive Decision: Endorsed as Amended

B139 AGRICULTURAL LAND USE CRITERIA Metchosin

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the UBCM notify BC Assessment of its objection to BC Assessment’s farm assessment policy criteria;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that BC Assessment employ personnel with experience and knowledge of agriculture to apply those criteria in practice.

Convention Decision: Not Considered – Automatic Referral to Executive

Executive Decision: No Action Required

B141 PRIVATE MOORAGE WHARF TENURE Strathcona RD

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the UBCM communicate to the Minister of Agriculture and Lands its desire to continue receiving referrals on applications for private moorage wharves;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Minister be requested to ensure that any new tenure for private moorage wharves be limited to a maximum five-year term, with any renewal of permission considered through a review that includes a referral to the regional district.

Convention Decision: Not Considered – Automatic Referral to Executive

Executive Decision:Endorsed

B148 INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL GRADUATE PROGRAM Port Alice

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Ministry of Health review and correct the obstacles in the existing medical training model that are preventing Canadians, trained as doctors in other Commonwealth countries or the U.S. from returning to Canada to practice;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Ministry of Health review and correct the obstacles in the current International Medical Graduate (IMG) Program that also prohibits Canadians trained as doctors in other Commonwealth countries or the U.S. from returning to Canada to practice.

Convention Decision: Not Considered – Automatic Referral to Executive

Executive Decision: Endorsed

B156 A MINOR ROUTES STRATEGY FOR COASTAL FERRY SERVICE  Islands Trust

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of BC Municipalities request that the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure work with coastal communities and BC Ferries to develop a strategy for the minor southern coastal ferry routes, as proposed by the Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs.

Convention Decision: Not Considered – Automatic Referral to Executive

Executive Decision: Endorsed

B166 ALTERNATIVE ENERGY INSTALLATIONS   AVICC

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the provincial government of British Columbia provide incentives to encourage new construction to be pre-plumbed and pre-wired for future solar panels or other alternative energy installations.

Convention Decision: Not Considered – Automatic Referral to Executive

Executive Decision: Endorsed