Provincial government funding for Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort continues to generate talk in the Kootenay region and last week was the subject of a resolution at the annual Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Government (AKBLG) meeting in Creston.
The amended resolution, introduced by Invermere, was for the association to inform the province that it is strongly opposed to the funding of any municipalities without residents.
“It (the resolution) received strong support; there were only a handful of people that voted against it,” said Invermere mayor Gerry Taft.
The issue of public funding for Jumbo municipality has leapt to provincial
attention in recent weeks, after the resort municipality released a five-year financial plan projecting about $200,000 a year in revenue, the main source of which is B.C.’s Small Community Grant.
The district of Invermere had, after discussion at the March 25th Invermere council meeting, written a letter to the provincial government asking it to re-allocate the grant money (which is available to all B.C. municipalities with fewer than 19,000 people) earmarked for Jumbo to the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments. The issue prompted radio commentary by Mr. Taft and Jumbo mayor Greg Deck and sparked a heated exchange in the provincial legislature.
Association members at the meeting also passed (with a few dissenting voters) an amended resolution asking the B.C. government to delay passing Bill 24 (which proposes changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve) in order to consult with the public, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (or UBCM) and other affected parties. A group of Creston area farmers gathered outside the meeting to protest Bill 24 and several farmers and food producers in the Columbia Valley, including Winderberry Nurseries co-owner Oliver Egan, had expressed concern about the bill earlier this month.
The association meeting also included information sessions on broadband service gaps in the Kootenay region; efforts by Canadian Pacific to use new technology to help prevent train derailment on its longer trains; and a presentation from the Columbia River Treaty Local Government Committee on enhancing the Columbia River Treaty. There were also several workshop on provincial legislation tabled this year that would see municipal government terms increase from three years to four years and would put limits on campaign spending in municipal elections by candidates and by third parties.
The Canadian Pacific session was particularly informative, according to Mr. Taft.
“They have sensors on the train that detect heat and other factors that could cause problems with a wheel or axle; they are using this technology to try and identify problems before they result in derailments,” said Mr. Taft.
Both the Jumbo-inspired resolution and the Bill 24-inspired resolution are now referred to the UBCM convention in the fall for further consideration.