COLUMN: Electric vehicles, wildfire prevention and more at provincial conference

From Nelson councillor Robin Cherbo

During the last week of September most elected officials from around the province attended the Union of BC Municipalities Conference (UBCM) in Vancouver.

This is an opportunity to meet elected officials and ministers of the provincial government on all issues from affordable housing to infrastructure grants, etc.

We also attend tours and clinics, and deal with of all types of resolutions. There was the keynote speaker along with speakers from the main political parties including Premier John Horgan.

I was fortunate to be able to join a tour of BCIT Renewable Energy OASIS and smart grid project. We learned how a Smart Micro grid system provides power to buildings and electric vehicle charges.

There were also information sessions on electric vehicles and battery technology. As well I was able to get a passenger ride in a Tesla total electric vehicle which had incredible acceleration and auto braking system.

Now there are electric vehicle chargers throughout B.C. so, for example, an electric vehicle can now travel from the lower mainland to the Kootenays and beyond without fear of “range anxiety” as there are sufficient vehicle chargers along the route.

I attended clinics on present wildfire prevention and mitigation for B.C. communities. In the clinic we learned more about being fire smart along with sprinkler systems for fire safety of homes and properties.

Fire mitigation is complicated around Nelson outside the city limits as we have First Nations, Crown land, private land, park land, and forestry along with Regional District areas that all have to be consulted in order to proceed with the mitigation work.

The keynote speaker at the conference was a veteran CBC television personality Terry Milewski, who is one of Canada’s best-known broadcast journalists.

As Washington correspondent for the CBC he has traveled all over Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East, giving him a rich understanding of global politics.

After forty years of journalism, he retired from regular broadcasting as the CBC’s senior correspondent in Ottawa. His presentation was riveting, informative and potent to our current political situation in Canada and the USA.

The trade show ended on Thursday of the conference with booths on everything from asphalt reclamation to self-watering flower pots. Our own district booth supporting buy local with “Kootenay grown” products from around the area was very popular.

Premier John Horgan spoke about the receiving provincial support in dealing with issues of fire mitigation, drug overdoses, and affordable housing. His speech received a positive endorsement from the audience of mainly elected officials.

Overall the UBCM Con-ference was very interesting with a chance to network with councillors, mayors and staff from different districts and municipalities on many issues.

For example, learning methods for resolving complicated subjects such as homelessness and affordable housing so that we don’t continue to reinvent the wheel in dealing with these matters.

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