Salmon Arm’s mayor and council are taking their message to the top at this year’s Union of BC Municipalities convention.
Each year many municipal councils attempt to schedule meetings with a variety of provincial ministers in order to move local projects forward and increase support.
This year, the City of Salmon Arm has been very successful booking meetings with ministers, Mayor Alan Harrison said.
“You can imagine the spiderweb they must have with all the meetings they have to coordinate…We did manage a meeting with the premier. That is not always an easy one to get.”
Along with Premier John Horgan, Salmon Arm council is also meeting with BC Liberal leader Kevin Falcon at the Sept. 12-16 convention in Whistler.
Harrison said as well as talking to the premier about the city in general and doing relationship building, council members will talk about the successes the city has had working with the province.
They’ll stress the city is very open to pilot projects and innovation.
Council will take the same theme to the Liberal leader, as well as talking about Highway 1 and the need for red-light cameras, he said.
Along with the two leaders, Salmon Arm council will be meeting with five provincial ministers.
They include Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
The main topic will be the need for increased support for rural policing in the regional district. A Salmon Arm resolution on the topic was supported by the Southern Interior Local Government Association, and will be discussed by the UBCM.
Along with its 20 municipal officers funded 90 per cent by the city, the Salmon Arm detachment has five provincially-funded rural officers whose job is primarily focused on policing the large rural area spanning from Ranchero and Silver Creek out to Blind Bay and Sorrento.
There has been no increase in the number of rural police officers in the area for 19 years – it’s been five since 2003, Harrison said.
“It’s bleeding out our city resources when there are problems.”
Salmon Arm council will also be meeting Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Nicholas Simons about the need for additional outreach workers for people who are in need and living on the streets.
Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, is also on the list.
Harrison said the city worked with Popham on the Zest Commercial Food Hub so will be meeting in part to thank her for her support and to tell her about its successes.
He said there may be an opportunity for a second round of funding and the city is willing to pilot food programs.
“The city has a good record of working with all ministries, especially this one, so if there is opportunity for food autonomy and local processing and manufacturing, we want to make them aware we are willing,” Harrison said.
Salmon Arm is also meeting with Minister of Forests Katrine Conroy.
Harrison noted the city has been very involved with Fire Smarting and would like to learn about community forests. He said Logan Lake has one managed by its city on Crown land.
Selective logging of a community forest brings in dollars and can be used for Fire Smarting the interface between the forest and the community.
“It’s not a short-term goal but something we’re very interested in.”
The fifth meeting will be with staff at the Attorney General and Housing Ministry to talk about the city’s housing strategy. The city would like to talk about its successes in partnership with BC Housing, but also want to reinforce the need to have a shelter in place before the cold weather comes.
“The calendar is full, which is great,” Harrison said.
He pointed out that each councillor attending will take a lead role in a presentation to the ministers.
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