The 86 mayors who attended the first B.C. Mayors Caucus say they want to work closely with senior levels of government and not duplicate or get in the way of what the broader Union of B.C. Municipalities does.
That’s a good thing, and there’s nothing wrong with mayors giving themselves a chance to pool ideas in a venue that’s a little more concentrated than the UBCM, which includes council members and regional district directors as well as mayors.
However, the first mayors’ confab in Penticton last week didn’t come up with anything new, instead recycling — or, perhaps, re-iterating is a better word — issues that have been raised at the UBCM and its federal counterpart the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for years.
For example, the mayors want more money and less downloading from the provincial and federal governments. Municipal infrastructure — roads, sewers and water pipes — are in a sad state and a proper strategy is needed to deal with it, they say.
That’s been a thorn in the side of municipal councils for years, relieved occasionally with the balm of new federal-provincial-municipal infrastructure funding programs that are usually laboriously slow and insufficient.
As well, the B.C. mayors would like to see the creation of a premier’s round table where common issues can be discussed. Presumably like the Provincial Congress of mayors, cabinet members and MLAs created by Gordon Campbell when he was in office, but which withered on the vine.
And the mayors want better coordination of the administration of social services. At one time, municipalities weren’t supposed to be responsible for social services, but when the Liberals gained office at the turn of the century they began downloading, or offloading, such services onto municipalities.
All the province had to do to accomplish this was to step back from funding for them, leaving municipalities to throw up their hands in frustration and jump in.
No, there’s nothing much new in what the mayors came up with, but will their new caucus change any of it? Certainly, it can’t hurt.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.