A debut gathering of mayors from B.C.’s smaller cities resulted in agreement that the municipalities want to change their relationships with the federal and provincial governments.
Mayor Peter Milobar said Friday the two-day B.C. Mayors’ Caucus was unified on the major positions that arose.
“It became very apparent very quickly we have some common problems. And the roots are very similar.”
Among the recommendations the group came up with was a plan for a roundtable on aging infrastructure that includes all three levels of government, an affirmation of the responsibilities of each level of government and redesigning of the cost-sharing formula on significant infrastructure projects so it better reflects tax-revenue distribution.
“We’re trying to be positive and proactive in our approach. We’re not looking to fight, we’re looking to actually work with a partnership with the province,” he said.
“We have to be far-sighted and innovative and we must be partners with all orders of government in finding efficiencies in how we deliver service.”
The group also suggested expanding the mandate of the recently created municipal auditor general to include examining financial impacts of offloading on local governments.
“We’ve got it, so let’s maximize that use and see what are the cost pressures from change of mandate in who’s providing those services,” said Milobar.
The event drew 86 mayors from around B.C., who met in Penticton to find common ground on shared issues. They called for another meeting in fall. Milobar said it would probably be just before the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ annual general meeting.
“I definitely think it’s worthwhile. I think it’s important to not try to replace UBCM by any means. Everyone was strong in supporting that. This is just another vehicle or tool, really.”