Local officials report back from AKBLG conference

The Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG) recently held its annual convention in Rossland recently

The Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG) recently held its annual convention in Rossland, with several local municipal officials in attendance representing the Upper Columbia Valley.

The convention ran from Wednesday, April 26th through to Friday, April 28th, and involved a range of workshops on topics as well as the association’s annual general meeting, during which members gave top priority to a resolution put forward by Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) officials.

Attendees also voted for the AKBLG’s board of directors, electing Radium Hot Springs mayor Clara Reinhardt as a director-at-large. Mrs. Reinhardt had been appointed to the board this past January, when Invermere mayor Gerry Taft stepped down from it to focus on his campaign as the Columbia River-Revelstoke NDP candidate in the provincial election, and she was voted back into the role during the meeting.

“It (the convention) was really well run, and well attended,” Mrs. Reinhardt told the Echo. “There is quite a lot of innovative stuff happening in Rossland, there is quite a bit of techie stuff, and we got to see some of it. We saw, for instance, an amazing model of the Idlewild dam (near Cranbrook) made by a three-dimensional printer.”

The resolution put forward by the RDEK, which got top priority by AKBLG member voters, was to shift responsibility for wildfire prevention interface work from local municipal government to the provincial government.

“There is funding for it (the interface work). We (local governments) get money from the province, but our (municipal) staff are then tasked with with this, and our staff often don’t have much expertise in this area,” said Mrs. Reinhardt. “The provincial government does have people with that kind of expertise.”

“The AKBLG meetings always go well. I enjoy meeting and discussing topics with my colleagues from the Kootenay and Boundary region,” RDEK Area F director Wendy Booth told the Echo. “For me, my highlight was the session on responsible conduct for local government elected officials. As result of past resolutions, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) has released a discussion paper on the topic.

“Our (UBCM) president Murry Krause and executive director Gary MacIassc gave a presentation on the topic and a survey was given to all delegate. A key message was to be kind and respectful in how we conduct ourselves,” said Booth. “Anytime we can learn new things to do our jobs better I’m all for that.”

During voting for the AKBLG executive positions, RDEK chair Rob Gay was voted in as the new AKBLG president.

The other four of the top five resolutions prioritized by AKBLG member voters during the meeting included more support for fire departments; better access to used oil recycling facilities in rural B.C.; putting a tax on vacant and derelict homes in B.C.; and on Multi-Material B.C. (MMBC).