The Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) met last week in Victoria to discuss issues at the heart of municipal concerns across the province. The UBCM voted on a number of resolutions with the most talked about being a resolution in favour of legalizing marijuana and a resolution in opposition to any pipeline work that would lead to an increase in oil tanker traffic along B.C.’s coast.
Mayor Luke Strimbold, councillor Quinten Beach and chief administrating officer Sheryl Worthing attended on behalf of the Village of Burns Lake. Strimbold voted against the pro-pot resolution. “I voted against it because I’m not sure we really understand the implications of it,” said Strimbold. “People were standing up there saying, ‘I smoked pot and I turned out fine’, but where do we draw the line? Just because some people speed does that mean we eliminate the speed limit?”
Strimbold doesn’t think that the political climate suggests the legalization of pot anytime soon, but if things were to change he said that, “We want to be the first out the door for the business opportunity.”
The UBCM vote on a resolution to oppose pipeline development that would lead to increased tanker traffic in B.C.’s coastal waters was a close one. The delegates voted 51.3 per cent in favour of the resolution while 48.7 were opposed.
Strimbold is against the idea of opposing pipeline projects without first considering the science and the economics involved. “We can’t let politics overrule investment and opportunities,” said Strimbold. “There’s a process in place that allows us to look at the science and have a conversation about it. We need to allow that process to take place.”
In casting his vote, Strimbold was concerned that a decision to oppose the pipeline before the completion of the Northern Gateway Hearings would be preemptive. “It becomes a political decision rather than a knowledge based one,” he said.
The Village of Burns Lake has taken the official position that it supports the hearing process currently underway, and that it will make its final decision to support or to not support the pipeline once all the evidence is in.
Strimbold and Beach found themselves on opposite sides for each vote.