Nelson mayor Deb Kozak was elected chair of the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments by acclamation last week.

UPDATED: Kootenay-Boundary government group nixes Nelson’s hospital laundry pitch

Regional government conference sets lobbying priorities and elects Deb Kozak as chair by acclamation.

A Kootenay-wide meeting of local governments met last week for three days in Nakusp to talk regional issues, but Nelson failed to get the support it sought over the potential loss of laundry services at Kootenay Lake Hospital.

The Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments voted not to discuss Nelson council’s opposition to the proposed relocation and privatization of hospital laundry services.

Because Nelson council’s proposed resolution was entered past the cut-off date, it required a 66 per cent vote to be allowed on the floor for discussion, and it only received 64 per cent.

Nelson councillor Michael Dailly challenged the vote on the basis that the percentage was close enough considering the relatively small number of people in the room (fewer than 100). His challenge also needed a 66 per cent vote to succeed, but, coincidentally, only got 64 per cent.

Therefore the laundry issue was not discussed.

UPDATE: The preceeding section of this story was updated on May 1. The previous version indicated that there had been a vote on the privatization of laundry services, when in fact the vote was about whether to discuss it at all, given that the resolution was received after the cut-off date.

A voice for rural governments

The AKBLG meets for a conference once each year to discuss common issues. Municipal councils and regional districts bring proposed resolutions to the meeting.

If they pass, the AKBLG lobbies the appropriate  government departments for action, and also pushes the resolutions upstairs to be considered by the Union of BC Municipalities, hoping for a boost in lobbying power.

Kozak elected chair

Kozak was elected chair of the AKBLG by acclamation. Last year she was the vice chair and became chair by default for a few months when last year’s chair decided not to run in the fall municipal elections. The new vice chair is Invermere mayor Gerry Taft.

Five regional priorities identified

The conference identified five crucial issues common to all areas in the Kootenay Boundary.

1. Mental Health

Ask that the UBCM work with Ministry of Health to strike a task force to investigate funding levels, treatment, and management of mental health issues across the region.

2. Crown consultations about recreational tenures

Ask the UBCM to ask the Ministry of Forests to require applicants for crown recreational tenure to hold public meetings in affected areas to avoid conflicts with residents and between recreational businesses, and to deal with concerns about the environment.

3. Victims services funding

Urge the Minister of Justice to increase funding for victims services in the face of increasing demand across the region.

4. Include marijuana derivatives and review access.

Ask the  federal government to include marijuana derivatives as part of the legal medical marijuana program, and review legislation and options for greater local access.  The rationale is that everyone has a right to medical treatment but not everyone can take marijuana by smoking it.

5. Re-establish diking authority.

Ask the provincial government to fund disaster relief and to re-establish the discontinued diking authority in communities with populations under 5,000. The authority would administer dike maintenance, flood protection, and the monitoring and inspection of dikes.

This was brought forward by East Kootenay municipalities where flood control is an important issue.


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