QC mayor, councillors raise issues at conference

  • Oct. 8, 2008 7:00 p.m.

By Heather Ramsay–Queen Charlotte’s mayor and two councillors lobbied their way through the recent Union of BC Municipalities conference in Penticton, raising issues with the Premier and other ministers such as the need for industrial land in town, watershed planning and respite from the carbon tax. Mayor Carol Kulesha reported on her activities, along with Councillors Greg Martin and Gladys Noddin’s, to the rest of council at the Oct. 6 council meeting. Carbon Tax: They met with Premier Gordon Campbell about this tax and were told it’s revenue neutral and not the cause of fuel price spikes. He said the tax is a commitment to our children and grandchildren and he intends to stay the course, said the mayor. On the other hand, she reported, the premier noted the difficulties remote communities face – from cell phone service to fresh vegetable delivery. She added mail service to that list. “We promoted a northern or remote living allowance and felt he was not adverse to the idea,” she said. Honna watershed: the trio met with the Minister of Community Development Blair Lekstrom along with staff from the Ministry of the Environment and Ministries of Transportation to discuss options for watershed management. A planning grant of $10,000 is available, if the village chips in $5,000. “We also need to determine if extending the municipal boundaries might offer more protection,” said Mayor Kulesha. This would have to be discussed with the Council of the Haida Nation and private land owners. Mayor Kulesha said the need for maintenance on forestry roads, especially the mainline, was also discussed. Industrial lands: The mayor and councillors spoke with the Integrated Land and Management Bureau about releasing provincial land for development. The village needs land for a recycling centre, compost facility and municipal yard, as well as a commercial/industrial park. They also discussed options for residential housing lots, a barge landing site and the need for more land survey work to be done. Men’s shelter: Mayor Kulesha said she spoke with BC Housing about the need for a facility that would offer shelter and Northern Health life skills programs. She also lent council’s support towards plans toward residential addictions programming for the Islands. Hospital: Councillors asked the Ministry of Heath where the new south-end hospital sat in the capital planning lists and were told the list has yet to be prioritized by the province.