Mayor Luke Strimbold recently rubbed shoulders with 85 B.C. mayors during the inaugural ‘B.C. Mayor’s Caucus’, held in Penticton.
The caucus presented an opportunity for all B.C. mayors to come together and discuss municipal issues and solutions and according to Mayor Strimbold it was a worthwhile event to attend.
He said, “I was fortunate to be in a working group with Mayor Diane Watts, of Surrey, who is a great mentor for business relationships. I also had an opportunity to meet with other mayors who are going through the same process of restructuring their economic development function as Burns Lake, so we will keep in touch to evaluate each other’s success.”
Mayor Strimbold said he discussed the importance of communication and he explained how the Village of Burns Lake has initiated the ‘mayor’s business roundtable breakfast meetings’ to discuss issues with local business representatives. “Many communities were intrigued with this idea,” he added.
He said he was able to build positive relationships with many of the mayors. “The mayors of Surrey, Burnaby, Cache Creek, Kimberley, McBride, Nelson, Port Alberni, Rossland, and Williams Lake were in my working group, so I was able to connect with each of them and brainstorm ideas on how we can learn from one another and form partnerships. We all are facing common issues and all have similar ideas. Now that we have formed a relationship, we can better advocate for communities across B.C.”
He believes a number of issues discussed at the meeting will potentially benefit Burns Lake, including the creation of a premier’s roundtable with the caucus to enable discussion on policy changes that affect local government budgets; the suggestion of expanding the mandate of the municipal auditor general to include an examination of the financial impacts of downloading costs onto local governments and establishing flexibility around the federal gas tax funds.
According to Mayor Strimbold, new ideas for economic development that could potentially be of interest in Burns Lake were also discussed.
“Mayor Watts [of Surrey], spoke about businesses in her community that want to invest in green technology in the North and they are still looking for Northern communities that want to participate. I think that this is an opportunity to explore this new technology and to also emphasize that Burns Lake is open for business.”