What’s Important at UBCM
Ron Bolin: Sept. 25, 2017
Many of our Nanaimo City Councillors and RDN Board members are in Vancouver attending this year’s Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conference. The following seven resolutions (three from Nanaimo City and four from Nanaimo RD) have been put before UBCM members by our Nanaimo representatives and should represent the most important issues facing us in the BC municipal arena. There were some 150 resolutions put forward by BC municipalities this year.
As you examine these issues considered most important this year by our representatives consider whether you have concerns which were not addressed… Perhaps we should put together a starter list for next year. I am not aware of any public engagement in the resolutions put forward this year…
If you would like to see the entire set of resolutions, google ubcm 2017
I look forward to your comments and suggestions….
UBCM Resolutions 2017
Nanaimo: B48, B107, C7
B48 Don’t Close the Doors on Adult Education Nanaimo City Whereas the Ministry has abolished funding for adult basic education programs and instituted tuition fees: Therefore be it resolved that the BC Federation of Students’ campaign “Don’t Close the Doors” be endorsed by requesting the Ministry reinstate funding for adult basic education programs and abolish tuition fees. Endorsed by the Association of Vancouver Island & Coastal Communities UBCM Resolutions Committee recommendation: Endorse UBCM Resolutions Committee comments: The Resolutions Committee notes that due to time constraints, resolution 2016-B131 regarding provincial funding for adult basic education, was referred automatically to the UBCM Executive for their consideration. In particular the resolution called on the provincial government to “reinstate long-term, dedicated funding for adult basic education.” Upon consideration at their April 2017 meeting, the UBCM Executive endorsed resolution 2016-B131. UBCM awaits response from the provincial government. Conference decision:
B107 Ending the Inhumane Use of Animal Traps Nanaimo City Whereas the Province has indicated a review of wildlife trapping regulations is underway and the use of body and leg hold traps within urban areas continues to pose an unacceptable risk of injuries to humans and pets, and the unrestricted sale of traps to unlicensed individuals continues; And whereas since 2012, the Province has not provided the required ministerial approval for wildlife trapping bylaws submitted from the City of Vernon, City of Surrey, District of Sechelt and City of Nanaimo: Therefore be it resolved that UBCM request the Province provide ministerial approval to local government bylaws in a timely manner, until such time that the Province completes a review of the trapping regulations. Endorsed by the Association of Vancouver Island & Coastal Communities UBCM Resolutions Committee recommendation: No Recommendation UBCM Resolutions Committee comments: The Resolutions Committee advises that the UBCM membership has not previously considered a resolution asking the provincial government to provide timely ministerial approval for local government bylaws regarding wildlife trapping. The Committee notes, however, that members have consistently endorsed resolutions seeking more stringent regulation of wildlife trapping, whether by the provincial government or by local governments (2013-B62, 2012-B124, 2011-B171). A common aim of these resolutions has been to prevent injury to humans or domesticated animals from wildlife traps. 176 UBCM 2017 Resolutions Book In response to the 2013 resolution, the provincial government committed to continue working with local governments to reduce the risk to domestic animals posed by wildlife trapping. The Province referenced an in-process review of trapping regulations, as well as the development of educational programs to emphasize the importance of signage in active trapping areas. Conference decision:
C7 Creating a Fair Market Approach to Lease Rates for Marinas Nanaimo City Whereas under the Canada Marine Act the federally governed port authority is required to set the lease rate structure for water lots at market value and Nanaimo Marina owners contest that the Nanaimo Port Authority lease rates structure does not represent a fair market approach; And whereas the Nanaimo Marina owners recommend a fair market model based on business owners’ income: Therefore be it resolved that UBCM advocate for a lease fee model that is based on a fair market approach for all port authorities. Endorsed by the Association of Vancouver Island & Coastal Communities UBCM Resolutions Committee recommendation: Refer Back to Sponsor UBCM Resolutions Committee comments: The Resolutions Committee advises that the UBCM membership has not previously considered a resolution asking that all federal port authorities use a lease fee model based on a fair market approach. The Committee has recommended referring this resolution back to the sponsor due to the regional nature of the issue. The sponsor appears to be proposing a course of action for all port authorities based on their own local experience. The Committee is concerned about the implications of this type of request on other port authorities. It is also evident from the background information that there is conflicting information about how the lease rate structure is established. The sponsor suggests that the lease rate structure does not represent a fair market approach, while the Nanaimo Port Authority has indicated that an independent third party appraiser determines the fair market value of the Port’s lands and water lots and the fair market rental value of properties leased.
RDN: B95, B128, B130, B139
B95 Hazardous Properties Remediation Costs Nanaimo RD Whereas regional districts exercise their legislated authority to remediate properties of hazardous conditions and/or environmental contamination, the cost of which may be recovered from the property owners or added to taxes in arrears if unpaid on December 31 in the year in which the work is done; And whereas if the taxes and debts remain unpaid, pursuant to the Taxation (Rural Area) Act a property may be forfeited to the Province and the Province is under no obligation to reimburse a regional district for the cost of remediating properties of hazardous conditions and/or environmental contamination: 168 UBCM 2017 Resolutions Book Therefore be it resolved that UBCM urge the Province to enact legislation or provisions that enable local governments to be reimbursed for the costs of remediating properties of hazardous conditions and/or environmental contamination that are subsequently forfeited to the Province on default of payment of the costs by the property owner. Endorsed by the Association of Vancouver Island & Coastal Communities UBCM Resolutions Committee recommendation: No Recommendation UBCM Resolutions Committee comments: The Resolutions Committee advises that the UBCM membership has not previously considered a resolution calling on the provincial government to reimburse regional districts the costs of remediating contaminated properties, in cases where the contaminated property has subsequently been forfeited to the provincial government due to unpaid taxes. The Committee understands that in situations where there are significant community concerns, hazardous conditions or environmental risks associated with the condition of a property, a regional district may direct a property owner(s) to remediate a property in accordance with the Community Charter or other enactments. When an owner fails to mitigate the concern or hazardous condition, a regional district may undertake the work and recover the costs from the owner. Should an owner default on payment, the outstanding amount is then transferred to the Surveyor of Taxes for collection of the debt through payment of taxes by the owner or from the proceeds of the sale of the property. Under current legislation, when a property is forfeited to the Province, the Committee notes that all outstanding liens, notices on title and unpaid amounts become null and void pursuant to the Taxation (Rural Area) Act. This includes any outstanding costs incurred by a regional district for the remediation of hazardous conditions, which are typically expensive undertakings. In such cases, there is no alternative for a regional district but to assign those costs back to the service area participants. Changes to provincial legislation that would permit a regional district to recover remediation costs after property forfeiture would lessen the burden on the regional district taxpayer. Conference decision:
B128 Exam Requirements for Owner Builder Certification Nanaimo RD Whereas the Province of BC through the Homeowner Protection Act establishes the requirements for property owners to be authorized as owner builders by BC Housing to build and occupy a new home for their personal use; And whereas due to recent amendments to the Act, BC Housing requires that owner builders write and pass an Owner Builder Authorization Exam prior to authorization under the legislation and has not produced a study guide or hosted educational sessions to allow property owners to prepare for the required examination which has resulted in an extremely high failure rate for applicants: Therefore be it resolved that in support of the ability for property owners to reasonably receive authorization as owner builders, UBCM urge the Province to prepare study materials and host education sessions designed to assist applicants through the required examination process. Endorsed by the Association of Vancouver Island & Coastal Communities UBCM Resolutions Committee recommendation: No Recommendation UBCM Resolutions Committee comments: The Resolutions Committee advises that the UBCM membership has not previously considered a resolution requesting that the provincial government provide study materials and educational opportunities for applicants who wish to undertake the Owner Builder Authorization Exam under the Homeowner Protection Act. Conference decision:
B130 Bill C-15 Federal Banking “Bail-in” Legislation Nanaimo RD Whereas the Canada Economic Plan (2014) and Bill C-15 (2016) enact legislation for a bail-in regime for “domestic – systemically important” banks (DSIBs) providing power to the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation to convert prescribed debt of a non-viable bank into common shares (bail-in); And whereas local governments in British Columbia accumulate large financial reserves through taxation to hold for future infrastructure development both directly with banks and through the Municipal Finance Authority investment program, the loss of which through a bail-in program would widely harm all local governments: Therefore be it resolved that the provincial government take measures to reduce the risk of local government reserves being used for bail-in conversion, either by promoting changes to federal legislation to specifically exclude local government reserves from bail-in or by promoting legislation such as Glass-Steagall rules; or if unable to do this, by creation of a secure repository for reserve funds, and/or by providing advice to local governments to avoid bail-in risk. Endorsed by the Association of Vancouver Island & Coastal Communities UBCM Resolutions Committee recommendation: No Recommendation UBCM Resolutions Committee comments: The Resolutions Committee advises that the UBCM membership has not previously considered a resolution regarding local government exposure to risk from reserve funds being used for bail-in conversion. Due to the technical nature of this resolution, UBCM consulted with the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA) on this matter. The Resolutions Committee understands that MFA is fully aware of this issue and is keenly monitoring this legislation and the supporting regulations. The new bail-in strategy emerged as a result of the 2007-08 global financial crisis. It is intended to protect taxpayers by ensuring that losses are borne by investors and creditors of a failed bank and not taxpayers. The regime will allow bank regulators to force conversion of a bank debt security into equity under certain circumstances when the regulator feels the bank is in trouble financially. Similar bail-in legislation has already been adopted or has been proposed in all G-20 countries. Canada has already passed bail-in legislation and is working on supporting regulations. It is unlikely they will reverse course at this time. Conference decision:
B139 Single Wide Mobile Homes as Second Dwellings on Agricultural Properties Nanaimo RD Whereas the Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation has established the standards for a second dwelling on Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) land and the Agricultural Land Commission’s (ALC) Policies L-08 and L-18 specify that manufactured homes must normally conform to the CSA Z240 series standards unless a property owner makes a non-farm application to the Commission; And whereas construction of factory built, movable dwellings has progressed significantly with technology and the CSA Standard is not flexible enough to accommodate the needs of farmers to provide accommodation on their properties without an application; And whereas these new movable dwellings incorporate innovative energy-efficient, green building technology and can be sited to reinforce the farmland protection objectives of the ALC: UBCM 2017 Resolutions Book 197 Therefore be it resolved that UBCM request that the Ministry of Agriculture amend the Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation to provide more certainty for types of manufactured homes that are permitted as residential uses and request that the Agricultural Land Commission amend their policies to allow for the siting of other types of factory built, movable dwellings outside of the CSA Z240 series standards. Endorsed by the Association of Vancouver Island & Coastal Communities UBCM Resolutions Committee recommendation: No Recommendation UBCM Resolutions Committee comments: The Resolutions Committee advises that the UBCM membership has not previously considered a resolution requesting amendments to the Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation to provide flexibility regarding second dwellings on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve, specifically the requirement for the dwelling to meet CSA Standard Z240 for a double wide mobile home. The Committee has reviewed the Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation, as well as Agricultural Land Commission policies L-08 and L-18. The Committee acknowledges that the policies cite the CSA Z240 series standards for manufactured homes. It is unclear to the Committee, however, whether the referenced policies are wholly prescriptive; and by extension, whether a property owner who wishes to site as a second dwelling a manufactured home that does not comply with the CSA Z240 series standards must automatically make a nonfarm application to the Agricultural Land Commission. Conference decision:
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