11:30AM Protection of Old Growth on VI and Site C
Two main resolutions that generated important votes. First a recommendation for UBCM to send a letter to the province to halt Site C development. The resolution was in the “block” of resolutions to be considered together. Someone attempted to pull it out and debated indivdually (only those opposed to a resolution can call for them to be pulled).
That attempt was defeated and so the resolution was passed with the rest of the first B resolutions.
Second, there was a resolution brought forward to Protect Old Growth on Vancouver Island.
The person in the picture is a councillor in Metchosin and a published scientist in forestry on the Island including all of the studies that have dealt with the issue.
After some debate, the motion passed strongly (I voted for as well). We need to shift our forest industry on the Island to a sustainable second growth industry. There is no future in cutting Old Growth and the benefits from the small amount remaining, as has been advocated by the BC Chamber of Commerce, are huge and varied and much greater than the limited, finite value of cutting them.
— Chris Alemany (@chrisalecanada) September 28, 2016
11AM Resolutions! Here goes the big part of the convention!
A shot of the table of contents of the Resolutions. You can see them all at www.ubcm.ca we will do the “A” resolutions first today.
First four resolutions below all passed very easily on downloading of DNA Analysis costs, marijuana regulation and taxation and short term accomodation (AirBNB)
10AM – Keynote at UBCM
Hearing from Dr. Samantha Nutt in the keynote this morning. An inspirational start that everyone needs and some simple messaging.
— Chris Alemany (@chrisalecanada) September 28, 2016
8:00AM – Cleaning up Motels
Prince George talking about how they cleaned up derelict buildings. It comes down to just doing what needs to be done after 30 years of talking about it. In 18 months 5 properties dealt with and now the community knows the Council and City are serious and “have a list you don’t want to be on”. (A Bylaw compliance list)
Make sure the process is transparent and legally supported but the community will support you and become your “eagle eyes”.
Business licenses are the method and process you can use to force compliance. If you suspend or cancel a business license at the location then they must stop and you can start to implement and require changes through worksafe, or health, or fire or safety or many other reasons.
Bylaw department takes the lead to gather evidence, inspect and outline the deficiencies so that they can be followed up on.
The suspension can be delegated to staff. The owner can then appeal to Council. Council has to deal with the appeal, have a public hearing and act on the will of the public which generally supports the issue.
Key evidence: Police callouts to the location.
If the “ground game” by Council and Staff is proper and transparent and wise, there will be no impetus for Judicial Review or challenges against the action from the motel owners or others.
Specific factors in business bylaw are helpful but most of the power comes from the statute in Community Charter. Just needs to be applied by an active and engaged Council and Staff.
Some places will shut and be “boarded up” but the hope is that the property owner does not want to keep paying taxes or the City can enforce destruction. (Whic the Port Alberni has done in a number of cases).
7:30AM – It’s early! How about Motels and Ultimatums?
NOTE: I will live stream on Facebook the Premier’s address this afternoon.
It feels like an early morning.
Tuesday night was a long one of receptions and networking and, honestly, wine. But this is really where you learn from others and from other stakeholders.
Case in point: Catalyst Paper. As an elected representative I have a responsibility to listen to all sides of an issue. Last night, I talked to a rep from Catalyst and his first words were something to the effect of: “There is an Old Growth Logging moratorium resolution on the floor at UBCM. If you support it and that came to pass, Catalyst would likely shut as would the other mills in Port Alberni”.
I will leave it there. If you have a thought about that please share. Now it is time to start a workshop on Motels Inns and Dives and how to clean them up. Excellent 7:30AM grist 😉
3:30PM – Emergency Coastal Response Session
Since I wasn’t able to participate in the Emergency Coastal Response exercise I wanted to make sure to get to this special session debriefing everything.
Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Yamamoto is here as well. (Second right below) ACRD Chief Administrative Officer Russel Dyson is at left.
(Minister Yamamoto came up to Councillors Washington, Paulson and I and thanked us for the whole of Port Alberni and the ACRD did. It was a massive effort!)
The exercise involved all levels of government and also US FEMA and Washington State through “Cascadia Rising” exercise.
Had 140 people just in the Keating (Victoria) facility. Do we have the facilities (provincially and otherwise) capacity to do this?
Many moving parts and goals in the exercise.
Recurring theme: There was a need for more capacity from a human standpoint. People were starting to get tired and fatigued. Emergency Operations found they were looking very short term, hours and day time frame rather than looking out to Day 4, 5 or 6. Operational Communications came away realizing how important it is to involve amateur radio in all aspects from the beginning.
Russel Dyson talking about how there was some apprehension at scale of the operation but with planning it all came together. ACRD only had 20 full time staff and included City of Port Alberni and volunteers to pull it off.
Report from ACRD Staff will be coming to the ACRD Board and City of Port Alberni.
Western Forest Products, Catalyst and Port Authority participated fully and donated equipment and land to add realism to the scenarios.
It was ACRD, City, Nanaimo, Tofino, Ucluelet…. they were all thrown in with no expectation. Comment from the evaluators: “You guys worked so well together” Very proud.
Actually did paper work through HAM Radio to request resources like a Helicopter for assessment and situational awareness.
Mid way through the exercise an emergency Board meeting was held where it was suggested that 50% of the Board members, in a real case, would not have been able (either by being away or injured, or worse?) would not be able to be involved.
The big takeaway from Mr. Dyson. Practice, Practice Practice. The team building and all of the different skill sets brought together was absolutely invaluable. More of these exercises are needed across the province.
Extremely valuable and great job to the Province for bringing this forward and making it happen.
From the Questions – Looking at ways to improve communications perhaps including an EMBC specific radio channels but that requires infrastructure (that can also be affected by earthquake).
Some great questions from audience on EMBC putting in resources to remote communities, on authority piece (when does local government take control)… the paperwork needed was huge and really needed to focus on that.
“We thought as planners maybe we would have staff that would walk out and be too stressed as new employees… but it did not happen. People worked together and collaborated and there were tense moments but there was great team work”.
Is there a next step, next place?
Minister comments that if a similar event was taken on in a larger urban centre it would be a very different and valuable exercise. There have been many requests from other communities to have a similar exercise.
2PM Update – Drug-Related Overdoes: A Public Health Emergency
Dr. Perry Kendall – Chief Medical Officer
These deaths (below since 2007) are the tip of the iceberg because of the naxolone kit or otherwise… you can see the impact on communities (Nanaimo in list note how numbers rise).
This outbreak is happening amongst the working class, younger (under 50) and so it is in private (in homes) not in public on street. Leads to challenges for notification and education as well as direct access to the users. The fentanyl is being cut in with other drugs “polydrug”.
(Comment: A lot of heavy slides. They are doing a ton of work across all sectors of the public service to try to address the problem. It truly does sound like an emergency and crisis footing. This includes trying to get more buy-in from senior government to expand health intervention and safe injection type sites. There is a lot of political resistance to the concept still… asks attendees to advocate for that to the province. It is a health issue.
They are trying to build capacity and underpinning to try to make changes that will address the issue long term while “keeping people alive” with naloxone kits going to all emergency services including, soon, RCMP/Police. Trained 14,000 people so far and 2200 doses have been given across BC. (Those people could have all died!)
Mark Tyndall MD BC Centre for Disease Control
Drug Overdose is not a new issue. Same social issues… but what has changed? Fentanyl is the opioid “currency”. The margin of error is very small… thus deaths. Sheer number of people on opioids has grown massively in past 10-15 years.
Started with patches (cutting up the patch into strips) by prescription and then the powdered fentanyl came in 2013. This has replaced heroine and cocaine and other opioids because it is so cheap.
“Fentanyl Kills” messaging — doesn’t work with people who are addicted. They won’t stop without alternatives.
“Merits of Harm Reduction is not up for debate.” (“Much like climate change”)
Many of these talking points are on the BC CDC website.
“We are downloading our medical care onto people who are least trained to do it …. friends, family, others. Good that we now have BC Ambulance and Fire and RCMP are getting the kits but we need more support.
In all the years of safe injection site “InSite” in Vancouver, there has never been an overdose. Extremely effective way to prevent deaths and provide further support. (Social workers, nurses, etc)
There is no where for people to go for help to get those first steps. (A 6 month Waiting List for treatment is not appropriate).
“The War on Drugs is a total failure”
Federal government is open to Harm Reduction. And Provincial government is very open to innovation.
Communities need to make it happen on the ground. They have the most power because they are so close to the issue.
Dr. Kerry Jang – Councillor / City of Vancouver
We as Municipal politicians need to take care of the police and fire to make sure they are supported. Look after first responders.
Call on the Health Authority “kill the naysayers with data”. The Health authorities will work hand in hand with communities to lead. Communities need to lead to create safe injection sites. Latest research shows keep people independent at home is most effective. We can create health teams that will go to peoples homes.
Put a strategy in place so that when next crisis comes you can respond.
BC Ambulance rep:
They say they have brought forward some solutions (at emergency meeting in June) but nothing has been done.
BC Fire Fighters Rep:
They are doing everything they can and need and want to do more.
10AM Update – Affordable housing and low wage crisis.
Even small communities are starting to lose young demographic because it is unaffordable in BC but smaller communities do have ability to pull disadvantaged millenials and gen X from lower mainland.
From a generational standard, no province has taken bigger hit in housing cost and low wages for younger generations. Child Care is costing more than tuition… at same time that new parents are paying historically high tuition debt.
Homes first. Tax housing wealth more to slow housing price, cut income taxes. Need more rental accommodation.
Second speaker: Mayor of Quesnel Bob Simpson
$2.4 Million annual infrastructure deficit. Tax shifting from Industry to Residents, they increased taxes 7% for 4 years. We did a town hall and did a 10% incremental cut in operations. We had to show that it was all going to infrastructure. We have not had a tax revolt and people are accepting of it because they see tangible benefit.
“We need to giveup parking in business district to create a people cemtric space”
It is about creating our own positive, progressive stories. We are investing and making great infrastructure. We are providing a Living Wage. We are in control of our google results by doing and creating the news and creating the infrastruxture that makes it real! (Liveavle, bikeability, transit, condos and small affordable desirable living places).
9AM Update – Municipal Liability with severe weather (climate change) and lobbying the Province to better protect Municipalities and taxpayers.
(sorry going to have updates top down… just way easier to manage and read :))
I didn’t realize this was actuslly going to be a climate change related workshop… but when dealing with insurance and liability I guess I should not be surprised. The message was clear that local governments, because of the legislation in BC (compared to somewhere like Alberta) are very exposed to being sued due to severe weather events they have no control over.
Reducing Liability Exposure for Local Gov.
– We are actually talking climate change liability risk
– Problem is Section 744 of Community Charter
– The $2 Billion Floods in Alberta – (from mostly sewer backups) – was largest insurance claim in Canada and mostly fell on local government. However, because of Alberta legislation, they were protected and did not have to pay out. In BC we do not have that protection.
– Local Governments in BC are sitting ducks.
Here are the main issues:
Local government has little responsibility on first two… main liability is extreme weather. We are now seeing 1-100 year events every 10 or so years. Infrastructure is often built for 1-25 year simply becuaee municipalities can’t make stuff bigger than that for cost reasons.
In Alberta, that gap is covered.
We must plan for future development… paving over natural drainage ways… not making sure new development does not impact downstream. Not correcting a problem when you know about. You have to maintain. Sued for negligeance most common is Sidewalk.
Here is the section:
This will help protect from climate change, severe weather but not always. ONLY WITH BREAKDOWN OR MALFUNCTION. Not Capacity! (Severe flooding). Alberta has more broad protection that covers operation or non operation.
Comment: Port Alberni is not under of the BC Municipal Insurance umbrella. Perhaps we should be if it gives us more collective influence with other majority of municipalities.
This issue is going to cost many many more times more than leaky condos.
MIABC will help Local Gov implement “get out of jail free card” in new policies. It has to be in writing and approved, and does it set out reasonable achievable resources. Not “best practice” that is unaffordable or practical and realistic. Make sure you document everything!
In legislation we need to change “breakdown and malfunction” to Alberta “operation and non-operation”. This is only thing that needs to change so it is simple and hopefully easy but need lobbying support from affected local governments.
700-800 claims a year… usually about 12-24 right now weather/climate related. We expect this year, forecasts say fewer days of rain, but more intense storms. Interface fires – just do what you can do and be well documented.
Note: if you are with MiABC you get unlimited number of basic consultations on tip line for $100/yr.
7AM – Good Morning from Victoria BC!
This post will be updated continuously throughout the week. Latest updates on the top.
The schedule is packed. Here it all is below. If you see something you think I should go to or find out about, let me know in the comments, on FB or on Twitter.
I am just arriving for breakfast then it will be off to the reducing Liability Exposure of Local Government workshop.
Here is the description:
Section 744 of the Local Government Act provides immunity to local governments in relation to certain nuisance actions. However, in the face of ever changing climate conditions, broader protection for local governments is needed. Comparable legislation to the British Columbia act in Alberta provides considerably expansive protection in this regard. It would be beneficial to local governments if legislative reform to Section 744 rendered it as broad – and possibly broader – than the immunity currently granted to local governments in British Columbia.
Next Update after that session.