This week I joined city councillors, mayors, regional directors and First Nations leaders from around the province at the annual convention of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM).
This gathering brings together people working at the local government level to discuss shared challenges, identify solutions and advocate for action by the Provincial government. The recent change in the BC Legislature was reflected at the UBCM conference, with the new NDP government and Premier John Horgan and his Cabinet ministers and MLAs participating in many conference sessions, along with members of the Green Party caucus.
I had fruitful discussions with the Premier, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Minister of Transportation and Green Party MLAs Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen.
I was also able to advocate successfully for majority votes of UBCM delegates on several resolutions advanced by the City of Victoria, including a resolution calling for action to encourage the use of residential property to provide housing, and discourage speculation, flipping, commodity investment and other distortions in the housing market.
Another resolution from the City of Victoria that was adopted by UBCM delegates calls for the Province of BC to optimize the community benefits of forest resources, including strengthening protections for old-growth forests and drinking watersheds, ending the export of raw logs, and transitioning toward a value-added sector based in sustainable management of second-growth forests and expansion of community forests and community log markets.