Delegates at the municipal conference in Vancouver supported calls by the Village of Burns Lake to curtail moose hunting and draw more medical professionals to rural areas.
The Limited Entry Hunt for Cow/Calf Moose and Attracting and Retaining Medical Specialists in Rural BC resolutions were endorsed by the 900 voting delegates at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Convention in Vancouver on Sept. 23-27.
The moose resolution, originally floated to the Burns Lake council by councillor Charlie Rensby on June 25, recognizes the pressures exerted on shrinking ungulate populations in the southeastern Kootenay region and in the northeastern Omineca and Peace areas.
It calls for lobbying the provincial government to stop the cow/calf moose limited entry hunt until populations rebound, and for more intensive monitoring of moose numbers.
The medical resolution notes the limited access to prompt and specialized medical care in rural areas, which increases patient wait times and worsens medical conditions.
“Therefore be it resolved that the Province be lobbied to more effectively retain medical specialists and services in rural British Columbia,” the UBCM said.
The issue of advanced care has been an ongoing concern in Burns Lake, amid reports of limited availability of wound care and technologies like ultrasound and computerized tomography (CT) scanners.
“We are happy to see that the resolutions passed and would like to thank Councillor Rensby, in particular, for his work in putting them forward,” as mayor Dolores Funk told Lakes District News.
The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) brought forward five resolutions at the UBCM event, all of which were endorsed.
They included a call for the provincial government to ensure sufficient resources and funding be provided to local governments to fulfill their respective responsibilities; that the province set eligibility requirements for Community Resilience Investment Program funding that are based on local government needs; and that the province work with local governments to set policy on providing disaster recovery assistance and make such funding available directly to local governments in line with their legislated responsibilities under the Emergency Program Act.
The fourth resolution called for the province to work with local governments on developing a permit system for the entry of people, equipment and supplies into evacuation order areas, and that the province consider new legislation addressing risk management in relation to entry into those areas.
The fifth was sponsored by Clint Lambert, Electoral Area E Director, who called on the province to develop policy that formally recognizes peoples’ right to stay and defend their property from wildfire.
“The board was pleased with the support from our local government counterparts around the province on these important issues,” said Curtis Helgesen, Chief Administrative Officer of the RDBN.
The 276 resolutions submitted for consideration at this year’s UBCM were a record high number, with 70 more submitted compared to 2018, as a union spokesperson said.
Once a resolution is endorsed it becomes UBCM policy and is passed onto the provincial government, which shares it with the various ministries for consideration and response.
It was not yet clear when the endorsed resolutions might become law.
“A couple of years ago we passed a resolution on Thursday on campaign finance and the premier’s office called us the next day and wanted to get working on it. I think it was about six months until it became law. That’s as fast as it could be,” the spokesperson said, adding that it usually takes up to five years to go on the books.