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How UBCM benefits Richmond residents

By Coun. Kelly Greene

Published 10:41 PDT, Mon October 21, 2019

Along with fellow Councillors, I was fortunate to attend the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) annual conference recently. This is an important annual gathering of municipal leaders and I’d like to share how participating in UBCM benefits Richmond residents.

Local governments from across BC send their elected representatives to the week-long UBCM conference to improve their knowledge of leading issues, ranging from disaster response to money laundering. In addition, municipalities can submit issues (resolutions) regarding items important to them and their communities. The body of UBCM votes on all the resolutions—there’s often over 150 of them—to decide which priority ones to endorse and present collectively to the provincial government for discussion and action.

Richmond Council submitted a number of resolutions for consideration at UBCM—each of them relevant to those living or working in Richmond. The following were endorsed:

• Comprehensive Provincial Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy 

• Compostable Single-Use Items 

• Lobbyist Registration 

• Conflict of Interest Complaint Mechanism 

• Transparency & Legislative Reform of Beneficial Ownership of Land & Corporations 

These and other UBCM endorsed resolutions are sent to the respective government ministries for response. On any particular issue, government may choose to take full action, offer partial action, or simply choose to receive the resolution as information only. With the collective weight of UBCM behind a resolution, it can have more strength than if just a single municipality was sharing the issue with government.

While at UBCM we also met with many provincial Ministers and raised issues of importance to Richmond, with particular emphasis on: 

• housing 

• congestion at Highway 99 & Steveston Highway

• Richmond Hospital replacement tower

• single use plastics and other items

• money laundering

Many of the biggest issues we face in the city can only be solved by senior levels of government, and I am confident that our concerns were understood and action will be taken to improve the lives of Richmond residents.

The City of Richmond also received two awards at UBCM, highlighting how we are leading the way to improve the lives of our residents as well as care for our planet. The awards were for our:

• child care needs assessment strategy; and our

• electric-vehicle-ready charging infrastructure requirement bylaw

Finally, meeting with elected representatives from other communities allowed us to learn from each other’s experiences. Underlying issues can be similar across communities, and hearing what worked (and what didn’t) helps us to do a better job for the residents of Richmond. I even got extra time to “talk shop” with Councillor Michael Wolfe, who coincidentally rode the same Canada Line train to UBCM almost every day!

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