The East Kootenay region now has two Regional District of East Kootenay directors serving at the provincial level after recently being elected to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) executive.
Electoral Area F Director Wendy Booth was elected as the Second Vice President and District of Invermere mayor Gerry Taft was elected as the Director at Large during the UBCM convention that was held at the end of September.
“Having two representatives on the UBCM Executive is great for the valley and the region,” Booth wrote by email following her triumph. “Personally, this is a great privilege and honour to be elected by my peers for the position of Second Vice President. The UBCM is a great organization that works on behalf of all local governments in the province.”
This post of Second Vice President may be new to her, but it will be Booth’s third year on the UBCM executive. She has no shortage of ideas about how to help the East Kootenay region on a provincial level.
“My goal for the next year is to continue working on behalf of the communities in Area F, the Columbia Valley, the Kootenays and the province as a whole,” she explained. “As for specific projects, the Rural Dividend (which was just announced at convention) will be something that I will keep a close eye on as to how it is administered and make sure that it meets the goals of the rural areas.”
Taft has also accepted a new role with the organization after serving the executive for two years.
“I was happy,” he replied when asked about his new appointment. “There were a lot of people running for five Director at Large positions, so there was a very diverse mix of candidates from across the province.”
Taft is particularly excited about having an opportunity to work on policy, direction and initiatives at the UBCM.
“One of the things that I hope to bring to the table is standing up strong for local governments,” he explained. “I think, in the past, sometimes, the UBCM has been really concerned about keeping a strong relationship with the province — and they do need to have a working relationship — but sometimes the UBCM has not stood up strong enough for local government.”
He added there is weight behind the voice of local government when it’s united.
“If something really serious is going on, it’s important that the UBCM is a voice for local government and isn’t afraid of making strong points and sometimes disagreeing with the province,” said Taft, while adding there are several priorities in his mind. “I would like to work on streamlining the resolution process at the annual conference. Right now, we pass a lot of resolutions and a lot of them get ignored by the province and part of it is the volume — there are so many of them.”