Honourable Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, addressed a plenary session for UBCM delegates on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
After recognizing Reconciliation Week, Minister Oakes encouraged convention delegates to forge partnerships, address challenges and explore new opportunities for their communities. She thanked her MLA colleagues, Parliamentary Secretary for Communities Linda Reimer, local and provincial government staff for their work, as well as Ministry and UBCM staff responsible for organizing this year’s convention.
Local government leaders were also hailed as trail breakers leading the way for their communities. The Minister vowed to showcase successful B.C. communities to a larger audience, in part by publishing quarterly newsletters focused on local successes throughout the province.
Partnerships between all levels of government and the involvement of local citizen volunteers as keys to successful communities were also highlighted by Minister Oakes.
In reference to the on-going work on Local Government Election Reform, she noted the B.C. government’s commitment to a phased-in approach to proposed changes, including expense limits while emphasizing that next year’s local government elections will occur on November 15.
Recognizing Moody’s Investors Services reconfirmation of BC’s triple A credit rating, Minister Oakes said the Province will stick to the strong fiscal discipline values endorsed by the electorate last spring to balance the budget and control public spending,
With respect to the UBCM report on local government finance, she welcomes continued dialogue between the provincial and local governments on challenges and opportunities.
On the opportunities side, the Minister noted B.C.’s LNG potential, the 2015 Prince George Canada Winter Games as an economic driver for the North, the Mobile Business Licence Program and her commitment to securing continued federal government support for infrastructure projects in British Columbia communities.