From left, Mayor Suzan Hewat of Kaslo, Silverton councillor Leah Main, and Mayor Maya Tait of Sooke at an FCM meeting in Ottawa in November. Photo submitted

West Kootenay politicians push for municipal-friendly federal budget

Leah Main and Suzan Hewat helped Federation of Canadian Municipalities with budget recommendations

Submitted by the Regional District of Central Kootenay

Two Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) directors participated in a national meeting this month that made recommendations to the federal government for its upcoming budget.

Kaslo Mayor Suzan Hewat and Silverton councillor Leah Main attended a budget meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.

Main sits on the board of the FCM and Hewat is a committee member.

“This budget represents a key opportunity to improve the everyday life of Canadians with critical investments in clean public transit, housing affordability and infrastructure for communities of all sizes,” Main said.

“Whether it’s permanent transit funding, climate action, or access to adequate broadband, local governments are ready to bring life to the commitments we’ve heard from this government, it is an opportunity for the government to show it can deliver for the Kootenays, and FCM is offering a clear path toward results that people can see and feel in their daily lives.”

FCM’s submission lays out three paths to delivering for Canadians through Budget 2020:

• Strengthening communities of all sizes: shoring up key funding tools for better local infrastructure, investing directly in Canada’s rural and northern communities, including rural mobility and transportation solutions and access to adequate broadband.

• Local climate action that builds better lives: making housing more energy efficient, strengthening tools for local disaster mitigation, climate resilience and natural infrastructure enhancement, and emissions with permanent transit funding, while accelerating transit electrification.

• New progress on housing affordability: filling key gaps in the national housing strategy by investing directly in supportive housing, along with social/affordable housing for Indigenous households — while opening a new front of leadership on the affordability of market rental housing.

• The submission also calls on the federal government to drive immediate progress for struggling western communities by implementing immediate-term proposals from FCM’s western economic solutions taskforce.

“We’re offering solutions everyone can get behind and we are putting forward concrete climate action that builds better lives across the country,” said Main.

“Our disaster mitigation and climate adaptation solutions include protecting communities from the impacts of new weather extremes. Our public transit proposals will lead to faster commutes and lower emissions. We want to do more for Canadians and we’re looking to Budget 2020 to deepen our municipal-federal partnership.”

Shortly after last fall’s federal election, FCM released comprehensive recommendations for the new minority parliament in 15 policy areas. The latest recommendations are a shortlist of proposals that Budget 2020 can implement immediately to drive results for Canadians.

FCM unites nearly 2,000 local governments at the national level, representing more than 90 per cent of Canadians in every province and territory.

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