Getting the most out of meetings with various Cabinet Ministers is the focus of Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson heading into the Union of BC Municipalities convention that gets underway today in Vancouver.

Simpson says Council’s approach is to into these 15 minute meetings with solutions and opportunities and partnerships as opposed to problems and complaints.

He says one of the key issues this time around is the need for a community strategy on harm reduction…

“As a local government we’ve got a lot of downloading onto us for additional policing, additional bylaw, needle pickup, dealing with squatters, trying to do planning for homeless shelters and supportive housing, and getting engaged with Northern Health and other authorities around making it possible to have more robust programs around mental health and addictions services.”

Simpson says all of that is in the domain of the province…

“If the provincial government wants to maintain the social license for their harm reduction approach for individuals who are struggling with substance abuse, then they need to come up with a community harm reduction strategy that provides us with the additional resources we need.”

Simpson says a meeting with the Ministers of Children and Family Development and Social Development are also on the agenda…

“To try and get some more resources into our community for families in need and youth in need, we’re interested in a program for youth and youth housing, and some more supports for families that are struggling where children have mental health issues or where the families are on the lower end of the income stream.”

Simpson says other meetings will focus on things like economic development and tourism around the Lhtako Dene Cultural Centre and the transition strategy that they have in place.

The Mayor’s caucus is on the agenda today. (Sept 23)

The convention will run all week before wrapping up with the Premier’s speech on Friday.