Castlegar mayor paticipates in caucus of mayors from across the province
Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff travelled to Oak Bay a few weeks ago to attend the BC Mayor's Caucus. The event is held twice a year and Chernoff finds the event helpful and effective.
"It is a peer-to-peer thing," explained Chernoff. "We get to see what is happening around the province. The size goes from villages to big cities — there are mayors from all over B.C."
The meeting offered a chance for mayors to share what is going on in their communities. "Really, across the board — it really doesn't matter about the size — the problems are the same," said Chernoff.
One focus of the meeting was the upcoming election. The group looked at what issues they would like to highlight for the provincial parties to look at.
"As a group of mayors in the province, we do have a bit of power that is noticed by the provincial government," explained Chernoff.
Representatives from the provincial parties participated in a two-hour session where the mayors asked the panel about their positions on various issues.
"From all of those discussions we had, we developed a strategy — so we are talking about the same things across the province, so we are on the same page when we talk to the political parties," said Chernoff. "It's not often that you get the opportunity to talk to the parties on a one-to-one basis."
Other topics explored included job creation, economic development, taxation, public transportation, affordable housing, indigenous reconciliation, homelessness, public infrastructure, sustainability, environmental protection, mental health, addiction issues, parks, recreation and pubic safety.
"Taxation always comes up because we [cities] only draw taxes from one [source]," said Chernoff. "So we are looking down the road to see how we can do things differently and how does taxation change in British Columbia so the residents of B.C. are not strictly the ones who finance communities."
"We need the ability to do things," he said. "How do you get the money to do the things you need to do? We need to move the burden away from the residents and see if there is another method. We think the federal and provincial governments need to look at this. There has to be a better source of funding than how we do things in B.C."