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The District of North Vancouver, like all BC municipalities, is dealing with issues like transportation, sewage treatment and affordable housing. But the DNV cannot deal with these issues alone. They are constrained by federal and provincial laws and they need the financial support of those governments.
The May 9 provincial election is going to be important to all British Columbians but it is going to be just as important for the local governments, like the District of North Vancouver, that provide services to our communities.
The organization representing BC’s local governments, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) has produced a document for the election that looks at critical issues facing our communities.
The UBCM says, “As frontline service providers, local governments are uniquely positioned to understand the evolving needs of citizens. The Union of BC Municipalities 2017 Provincial Election Platform identifies five common themes that are impacting BC communities, and provides recommendations for provincial action.”
The entire UBCM platform document can be found here:
The five themes identified by the UBCM are:
Infrastructure such as transportation and water services play a critical role in our communities. They also play a critical role in building our economy. The UBCM has called on political parties to commit to stable long term funding that will reduce the province’s infrastructure deficit. They also call for “Ensuring active local government involvement in the design, implementation and governance of infrastructure programs.”
Now more than ever municipalities are being called on to deliver expensive services with very limited revenue sources. Many of these expensive services are downloaded to local governments either by new federal and provincial laws of by the other governments simply ceasing to provide a needed service.
The UBCM has called for “To improve the long-term financial capacity of local governments, all provincial political parties must commit to working with local governments to provide the revenue tools needed to meet current and emerging service and infrastructure needs. This includes revenue sources that recognize growth in the economy such as the Community Development Bank.”
Protective services play a key role in keeping our communities healthy and safe. They deal with everything from crime to mental health and drug challenges. These services are costly in most cases taking up more than 30% of local budgets.
The UBCM wants the next government to review the arbitration process that sets salaries for protective service and to enhance communication on policing issues.
Local governments are on the front line of dealing with the impact of climate change in everything from floods to forest fires.
Among other things, the UBCM has called for appropriate provincial funding and decision making tools to allow local governments to deal with these issues. They have called for “Developing climate action approaches in consultation with local governments.”
Affordable housing is at the forefront of the agenda for many of BC’s local governments. The UBCM says, “Rising housing costs threaten the foundations of local economies and community connections.” It says, “When housing prices and rents are too high relative to incomes, a ripple effect is felt throughout the housing system. Homeowners, renters, and the most vulnerable are impacted along with the social fabric and economic viability of our communities.”
The UBCM has called on political parties to commit to supporting the retention and expansion of purpose built rental housing. They want to see supportive housing preserved and increased and the recognition of the role local governments play in these programs. They call for measures to reduce speculation in housing.
NOTE: Neither the UBCM nor the Delbrook Community Association is endorsing a political party in the provincial election.
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