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by Dannielle Alan, Regional District Director for the Canoe & Robson Valleys

It was a busy and productive session at UBCM this year and all the Ministers we met with were extended an invitation to visit the Robson/Canoe Valleys.

Our MLA, Shirley Bond, attended most sessions and was informed and supportive of Robson/Canoe Valley issues.

The Regional District of Fraser Fort George resolution at UBCM regarding forest access roads (below) was endorsed by the membership, and we had an opportunity to speak with Minister Doug Donaldson (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations) about the importance of this issue.

Resolution B58 was endorsed by the North Central Local Government Association and by the member of the Union of BC Municipalities.

“… that UBCM ask the provincial government to work with communities and stakeholders to identify key resource roads that are no longer required for industrial use and designate these roads as recreational roads that require provincial oversight and funding for ongoing maintenance in support of the back country recreation tourism industry and other critical agricultural, commercial, educational, and emergency uses.”

Regional District members also met with the new Agriculture Minister Lana Popham.

Topics that were brought up included:

Revitalizing the role of Farmers’ Institutes with more Ministry support and a resumption of their seat at the Agriculture Council table

Province wide Agricultural Extension Service that would assist agricultural entrepreneurs

Increasing the number of Ministry staff in the area

Helping farmers’ ability to recycle Agricultural plastic (bale wrap etc)

Increasing opportunities for small scale agriculture

We also met with the new Minister of Education, Rob Fleming and, in a discussion led by Mackenzie Deputy Mayor Joan

Atkinson, we discussed representative governance on the local school board and development of an appropriate and sustainable funding formula in support of rural schools.

There were multiple issues of concern affecting the Robson/Canoe Valleys brought up in our meeting with Honourable George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, briefly, these included:

Deficiencies in the Multi-Material BC recycling program with regards to small rural communities.

Illegal dumping on Crown land

Recovery of agricultural waste products

Members of the Regional District met with Selena Robinson, Honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and there was discussion regarding the need for affordable, accessible housing, including seniors housing throughout the Regional District.