UCMU: A learning experience

I attended the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Conference in Vancouver with the mayor and all of our council during the last week of September.

I attended the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Conference in Vancouver with the mayor and all of our council during the last week of September. This conference ran for four days and included study sessions and tours, workshops, forum clinics, special area meetings, the annual general meeting of UBCM, cabinet panels and specially arranged meetings with cabinet ministers and their executive staff. UBCM provides learning and sharing experiences for those who attend.

Here are some of my highlights…

Creating Age-Friendly Communities

This study session covered emerging issues such as economic development, the upside of an aging population and growing old in a changing climate. The second part of this session covered ideas and inspirations with topics such as age friendly gardening, accessibility routes, adaptable housing, seniors safety and creative partnerships with school districts.

On September 29, Premier Christy Clark launched Age Friendly BC with a $650,000 grant and recognition program to help municipalities create environments in which seniors will be able to enjoy good health and active participation in their community. Nelson will be applying for a share of this grant money.

Keeping Your Community Safe

This session covered numerous items to help make your community a safer place to live. Community measures to reduce crime presented by Sgt. Bernie Smandych introduced crime prevention through environmental design. This program helps municipalities reduce crime by using design guidelines, natural access control, neighbourhood surveillance and maintenance programs. The program can be incorporated in official community plans.

Forums and clinics were held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday starting at 7:30 a.m. There were 16 consecutive topics presented, which meant that I could attend three.

1. Smart metering program, which councillor Margaret Stacey has already commented on.

2. Infrastructure sustainability, the key information presented at this session were maintenance and replacement aging pipes. Nelson has an aggressive ongoing program in this area.

3. Water management and the new three R’s, supply, recovery, rehabilitation and conservation are the municipalities’ means of management. Local residents can help by utilizing smart design, soil and planting, irrigation and maintenance. Some municipalities have placed a maximum permitted area that may be landscaped for each lot. The above suggestions help to reduce water usage.

In conjunction with the convention there was a municipal marketplace trade show and exhibition.  This year there was just over 150 exhibitors. This is a great place to get new ideas on all aspects of municipal operations. This conference is a great way to keep current and up to date on new ideas, designs, and is also an opportunity to meet and talk to other mayors and councillors throughout BC.

The mayor and council have accomplished a lot of our goals over the last three years. I am looking forward to continued progress for the City of Nelson.