The Cariboo Regional District and the City of Williams Lake were both a perfect two for two when it comes to resolutions at this year’s North Central Local Government Association convention.
They were voted on in-person in Fort St. John on Thursday. (May 5)
CRD Chair Margo Wagner says one of theirs was for stable funding for the Forest Enhancement Society.
“The Forest Enhancement Society does a tremendous amount of work supporting projects that reduce greenhouse gases, protect communities from wildfire, improve wildfire habitat, they create jobs. They don’t have long term sustainable funding. Every year they go hand in hand to the province looking for money.”
Wagner says the second CRD resolution to pass was parental leave for elected officials.
“Currently, with the rules within the Community Charter and the Local Government Act, Directors who have an absent of 60 consecutive days or 4 consecutive regular scheduled Board meetings can be disqualified. We can basically call a by-election unless they get an exemption due to illness or a sustained injury for a long period of time.”
Wagner says the idea behind it is to try to get younger people to consider running for public office, which is something they currently struggle with.
She says two Williams Lake resolutions also passed unanimously, including one on funding for rural doctor locums.
” There is a doctor shortage, maybe not in Quesnel but in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House. So we’re finding it difficult to even get locums to come. We need locums to be able to not only relieve the doctors that we have got here so they’re able to take time off and go on vacation, but we also need them because we can’t get regular full-time doctors.”
Wagner says there is currently a program that is funded, but it’s for very small communities that have less than 7 doctors.
The other City of Williams Lake resolution that got the green light called for increased support and funding for mental health.
Wagner says people struggling with opioid addiction, homelessness and severe mental health issues in rural areas are often sent to larger centers for treatment, but that doesn’t help them when they return to their communities.
“When they get discharged they go back into kind of the same system that caused the issue in the first place. A lot of people fall through the cracks, and they go right back into the same situation. You need to have support for when they come back.”
The resolutions will now move on to the Union of BC Municipalities convention for approval in September.