District of Clearwater council and staff members worked hard during the recent Union of BC Municipalities convention, according to chief administrative officer Leslie Groulx.
The convention was held in the Vancouver Convention Center, Sept. 16 – 20.
In addition to attending sessions on a variety of subjects relevant to the municipality, local delegates also met with government officials, ministers as well as Premier Christy Clark, Groulx said.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure probably won’t cover the entire $6 million maintenance deficit a consultant identified in the new municipality’s roads, the CAO said. However, getting $2 – $4 million in help might be feasible.
“The positive thing is they recognize our roads are in need of work,” she said.
Physician recruitment was the main item on the agenda during discussions with Interior Health Authority. Also discussed were staffing in rural hospitals, residential care and assisted living.
The meeting with Deputy Premier Rich Coleman focussed on his role as Minister of Housing and how Clearwater could get more residential care and assisted living units for its citizens. Coleman was generally positive in his response, and invited the delegates to come back to him when they have more detailed plans.
Clearwater Mayor John Harwood was joined by the mayors of Barriere, McBride and Valemount, plus the chairs of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the Fraser-Fort George Regional District for the visit with Premier Christy Clark.
Rural sustainability was the focus of the talk – how to maintain basic services in the face of declining populations.
The delegates pressed the premier to provide adequate and reliable electric power to the North Thompson and Robson valleys.
Electricity was also the main concern during their meeting with BC Hydro.
“They said they heard us,” Groulx said. “We just need to put the pressure on.”
Succession planning for small businesses was the key item during talks with Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond. She is presently the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister responsible for Labour. Finding someone to take over a small business can be a problem, especially in a small town.