Meeting with ministers

UBCM: City priorities kept in eye of B.C. government.

  • Oct. 7, 2015 8:00 a.m.
Nancy Cooper

Nancy Cooper

The Salmon River Bridge and four-laning of the highway at the west end of town are still on the agenda, but  no word yet on when construction might start.

Mayor Nancy Cooper and members of council met with three provincial ministers at the recent Union of BC Municipalities’ annual convention – Todd Stone with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Andrew Wilkinson with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Mary Polak with the Ministry of Environment.

The meeting with Stone didn’t produce much new information.

“They are continuing to work on it; they’re not really giving us a date yet that they can actually start some ground work,” Cooper said, adding there are still property acquisitions to be done.

She said she and council thanked transportation ministry officials for doing what they’ve done so far.

“We want them to know we’re on top of it and willing to help in any way we can,” she said. “Right now with the federal election going on they’re kind of waiting – they have to talk to whoever the new federal government is as they will need federal funding as well.”

Regarding the Minister of Advanced Education, Cooper said because Wilkinson is new to the advanced education portfolio, he needed to be brought up to date regarding the city’s plan for Okanagan College’s proposed Learning Centre for Agriculture and its Downtown Community Campus.

Cooper said he listened carefully.

“He was happy to hear about it, and it’s always good when you have communities working toward something that would be an economic driver,” she remarked.

“There are some time markers in place, deadlines we have to meet. Coming up late this fall or early winter, Okanagan College has to be putting an application forward to the Agricultural Land Commission,” she said, explaining she believes the land won’t be taken out of the Agricultural Land Reserve but the application will request approval of the alternate use.

As for the invasive zebra and quagga mussels that are threatening British Columbia’s lakes, Cooper said Polak  indicated a number of communities have raised the same issue.

“And there was a resolution in the resolutions section about the very same issue. She didn’t actually commit to anything there,” Cooper said, adding the ministry must still look at options and has put some funds into the problem. “She was very understanding.”

Cooper ran for second vice-president of the UBCM, but was not successful.

Taking the spot was Wendy Booth from the East Kootenay.

Cooper said she was pleased she ran.

“I thought it was great because even though I didn’t win – I would loved to have won – I was able to talk about Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake four different times,” she said, referring to her speech.

Afterwards people came up to her and talked about Salmon Arm, she said. And she hasn’t ruled out running again.

“I don’t know if anyone ever wins on their first time, but I can be pretty persistent too,” she said laughing.