The Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments voted against asking the provincial government to permanently ban smoking in all public places at the final day of the association’s meeting at Copper Point Resort on Friday, April 19th.
The Kootenay area currently is a patchwork of smoking bans, with some municipalities having already banned smoking in public parks, beaches, restaurants and bars and others having not, said Nelson councillor Robin Cherbo. There should be a consistent region-wide policy, he said.
“If we ban all smoking, which would include medicinal marijuana and all the rest, Nelson could become a ghost town,” wryly remarked John Kettle, a Regional District of the Central Kootenay director for Area B.
“It would be nice if people who smoke — medicinal marijuana or otherwise — don’t use B.C. as an ashtray,” said Mr. Cherbo.
The association voted in favour of a special resolution seeking to have the provincial government provide the same emergency services and disaster assistance to second home owners and temporary residents as it does to permanent residents.
The resolution stems from last summer’s mudslide in Fairmont Hot Springs and deals with providing temporary food, shelter and other services in the first 72 hours following a disaster, said Wendy Booth, director of Regional District of the East Kootenay Area F.
“These individuals can be affected just as much as permanent residents,” said Ms. Booth.
After some discussion, delegates approved the District of Invermere’s resolution asking the province to resume its responsibility or provide adequate funding to manage or mitigate the impacts of urban wildlife.
For deer that cause issues within the boundaries of a municipality, the resolution asks that the province also take responsibility for the issuance of tickets for violations under any wildlife attractants bylaw.
The Regional District of Central Kootenay gained support from delegates in asking the province to investigate and legislate ways to prevent domestic animals from being injured in wildlife traps such as a Conibear. The resolution also asked that trap lines not be allowed in recreational areas close to communities, rural area developments and residential clusters.
A City of Cranbrook resolution could re-open some deabte around farm gate sales in B.C. The resolution noted the economic impact of the farmer’s market in Cranbrook is in excess of $1 million, and asked that the province reinstate farm gate sales as a means of helping the city support its agricultural community, while meeting local consumers’ desire for locally-grown food.
Each resolution passed at the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments will face a further vote at the Union of B.C.
Municipalities convention in September, and those that receive assent from that body will then be passed on to the province. Given the multi-step approval process required for each resolution, the province tends to give the requests greater consideration than those submitted directly by an individual community.
Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks was on hand to offer some closing comments to the delegates once all the business had wrapped up.
“You guys really put up with a lot of crap that we don’t have to deal with,” said the current MP and former mayor of Sparwood.
He also noted pending changes to Health Canada’s medical marijuana regulations will come into effect on March 31st, 2014, and will make any indoor grow operations for medical purposes illegal in B.C.
* Reporter Steve Hubrecht assisted Greg Amos with content for the writing this article