Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vernon not 'speed-dating' at provincial convention

By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star Updated: September 18, 2013 9:37 AM
A major gathering of civic leaders has kept Vernon officials busy, but the agenda hasn't included rubbing elbows with their provincial counterparts. City politicians continue to attend a variety of educational workshops and policy discussions at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, which wraps up in Vancouver Friday. But while other communities are also spending time lobbying provincial cabinet ministers, the revolving door hasn't been part of Vernon's activities."The city did not organize any ministerial meetings," said Mayor Rob Sawatzky. "It's speed-dating here and there's no evidence that quick meetings have any value. If you have an important issue, you meet separately so people have time to concentrate." But while ministerial lobbying isn't occurring, Sawatzky insists there is a benefit to being at UBCM. "We are here more for the resolutions," he said of B.C.'s municipalities and regional districts debating a variety of issues that could ultimately influence senior government. "That's the more effective use of the process." Among the resolutions of interest are funding for restorative justice programs, increased gaming revenue, tackling invasive mussel species and ensuring priority water infrastructure proceeds without having to go to referendum.

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