The union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) recently passed a unanimous motion opposing provincial funding of municipalities without residents. Delegates from municipalities across British Columbia voted with full force and in one mind during their recent meeting in Whistler to speak their mind about the decision of the province of B.C. to fund Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality.
The motion was in reference to Jumbo Glacier Mountain Municipality and read “Therefore be it resolved that UBCM inform the province of British Columbia that they are strongly opposed to the funding of any municipalities without residents.”
On February 19th, 2013 the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality was officially incorporated and a mayor and two councillors, were appointed for the municipality.
Amendments to the Local Government Act were made by the province to allow for the creation of the resort municipality; subsequently, in 2012 the UBCM officially opposed them.
In the motion the UBCM also resolved to ask the Ministry of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development to entertain an alternate governance structure, specifically for mountain resort municipalities, that includes elected representatives being responsible for land-use decisions and a minimum populace of 200 residents.
“The UBCM does not support the concept of an unelected body making land decisions for an area with no population,” read the resolution.
The disparity in the relative lack of provincial financial resources available to other municipalities across B.C. does not square up with the provincial funding for Jumbo Municipality, according to Invermere mayor Gerry Taft, who put the motion forward at the UBCM meeting.
“Local governments across B.C. struggle to provide services to our residents and the provincial government constantly says there is no money,” said Mayor Taft.
Jumbo Municipality was allotted $250,000 in monetary funds (through a fund that gives money to all communities in B.C.), as well as $50,000 provided by the federal gas tax fund. The resort municipality’s financial plan outlines more than $1 million in provincial funding during the next five years.
“I’m happy that the motion was passed unanimously— this was a great opportunity to raise awareness regarding the $1 million that is slated to be funded by B.C. to the Jumbo-pretend town,” said Mayor Taft.