Burns Lake Mayor Chris Beach has recently asked council to approve sending him to Ottawa in June to attend the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) 2017 annual conference and trade show.
The four-day event, which will take place on June 1-4, 2017, will offer workshops, industry-led seminars and networking opportunities to senior municipal officials from across Canada.
According to Sheryl Worthing, chief administrative officer for the Village of Burns Lake, having the mayor attend this event will cost taxpayers approximately $2000.
“I like to try things once to see if it’s worthwhile, so I wouldn’t mind going,” said Mayor Beach during a council meeting on Feb. 28, 2017.
Former Mayor Luke Strimbold did not attend FCM’s conference in 2015, when it was held in Winnipeg, nor in 2015, when it was held in Edmonton. He did, however, attend the conference in 2013 when it was held in Vancouver.
Mayor Beach told Lakes District News that the plane ticket to Ottawa will be purchased with the village’s credit card points.
“So it will not represent a directly higher financial cost than say if a councillor went to Vancouver for a conference,” he said.
According to Mayor Beach, attending this conference will be a useful way to learn best practices from elected officials who face similar challenges all across Canada.
“I will participate in discussions at FCM so I can advocate for Burns Lake and the Lakes District,” Mayor Beach said. “I feel very strongly that smaller communities such as ours often have different priorities and avenues to success than our larger more southern cities do, and we need to communicate our issues to every level of government at every opportunity.”
“Additionally, I will be able to participate in federal government advocacy through the resolutions panel and vote for an elected official from northern B.C. to represent our regional interests within the FCM leadership structure,” he continued.
“Attending the FCM conference is an opportunity for myself to learn from other mayors from across Canada and to develop into a better leader for our own community,” he added. “Being mayor can be a challenging job and I feel the person in this position deserves a chance at professional development just as people in other positions of responsibility do.”
Council carried a motion on Feb. 28, 2017 to approve the mayor’s request to attend the conference.