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Interior leaders meet to discuss hot button issues

Leaders of local governments will be discussing some hot button issues and topics directly affecting their communities this week in Penticton.

The four-day Southern Interior Local Government Association annual convention got underway on Tuesday at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre with over 140 delegates representing nine cities, 10 districts, four towns, seven villages, six regional districts and one resort municipality.

“There are a number of resolutions everything from medical marijuana to invasive Zebra and Quagga Mussels to ICBC premiums. There are a wide range of issues,” said Litke. “Medical marijuana will be an interesting debate of whether or not to restrict it to industrial lands or allow it on agricultural lands.”

The convention is also an opportunity for member municipalities and regional districts to highlight issues of regional importance. Twenty-four resolutions will be discussed by SILGA members, with categories including provincial and federal funding, financial, environmental and general. Some of the resolutions made will go directly to MLA’s or to the Union of B.C. Municipalities  conference in Vancouver.

“If they succeed on the floor at UBCM they have even more clout because UBCM has a great track record for taking its issues forward and making changes in government. These are more regional issues but some of them become provincial like the Agricultural Land Commission,” said Litke.

A resolution being brought forward by Penticton relates to ICBC claims. Litke said ICBC is no longer paying the full claims submitted by municipalities for vehicular damage done to municipal infrastructure and if not recovered the remainder becomes borne by the municipal tax payers. He would like to see it resolved that ICBC reimburse the full costs of damages caused by their insured drivers.

Speakers this year include an impressive lineup of industry leaders from both the

private and public sectors. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi will relay his experiences on leading local government while Mike McNaney, vice-president, WestJet, will cover the value of corporate culture. Litke said Nenshi is not charging a fee as a guest speaker, instead is asking for a donation to a charity of his choice which has not yet been determined.

The convention features educational, training, networking and experiential opportunities.

Other speakers include Bryan Yu, economist, central 1 Credit Union. He will be speaking to the delegates on Wednesday about the economic outlook for both B.C. and the Southern Interior.

On Thursday Linda Reimer, parliamentary secretary, ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development will be speaking on local government election reform changes.

“Mayor Nenshi will be a definite highlight and Bryan Yu, who manages about $88 billion and his talk on what we should be doing to make the economy grow will be really interesting to us,” said Litke.

Breakout sessions will also occur for delegates with Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen staff Dale Kronebusch and Mark Woods on volunteer fire departments and City of Penticton director of development services Anthony Haddad on the process, plan and getting results on Penticton’s downtown plan.

Litke said it is a great opportunity to show off the city.

On Wednesday delegates will take a tour of Okanagan College Centre of Excellence, one of the largest wood buildings in B.C. that is working towards a net zero energy and water consumption.

“We are bragging about the things that are pretty cool here and maybe they will come back for a vacation,” said Litke, who added they are also giving away a trip for four to return in the summer to a concert at the SOEC, a helicopter tour and spending money for the Penticton downtown markets.

“It is an opportunity to showcase our community to people who might otherwise not consider Penticton to holiday or do business.

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