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Mayor MacDougall heads to UBCM

Mayor Rob MacDougall and some of the councilors are down at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Victoria this week.

Mayor Rob MacDougall and some of the councilors are down at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Victoria this week.

Meetings will be taking place with ministers and opposition critics in Victoria, B.C., this year’s convention theme is “In conversation” and is all about communication.

Mayor MacDougall gave some insight into what he will be communicating to other levels of government at this year’s convention, and who he will be communicating with.

He will be participating in a Small Communities Forum, for leaders of communities of less than 5,000 people in order to share ideas on facing the challenges of small municipalities.

“I think we have a lot of commonalities,” said MacDougall.

There will be meetings with the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Bill Bennett to discuss the community’s ongoing work to build a community centre.

The ongoing quest for a community centre has been going on for a number of years and some grant money is due to expire in the spring of 2013, which MacDougall well be asking for an extension on.

A meeting with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Mary Polack, with conversations around the North Road and improvements to help make the highway through town safer.

Specifically, ICBC and Ministry of Transportation staff have suggested a few key points which include a left turn lane at Stone’s Bay Road from Highway 27, a reduction of speed through Cottonwood Park area, a pedestrian crossing at Birch Street across Stuart Drive/Highway 27, some improved signage and curb extensions in spots as well.

A meeting with the Minister of Health Margaret MacDiarmid will include the community’s efforts at physician recruitment and retention and some suggestions of what the mayor believes could help communities in their efforts.

He said increasing the number of spaces for physician training as well as heaping foreign-trained physicians become certified to practice here in Canada.

The Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas Rich Coleman can expect to discuss the proposed amendments to the Mount Milligan environmental assessment certificate.

MacDougall said he is going to ask the province to carefully consider the concerns when approving amendments.

A meeting with Minister of Jobs Pat Bell will touch on the mid term timber supply, which MacDougall.

“We’re just going to have to make sure that there’s wood made available for our local mills so they don’t rob Peter to pay Paul,” said MacDougall. He doesn’t want to see “today’s solution become tomorrow’s problem.”

He is also planning to advocate for the local College of New Caledonia trades facility to help training locals for the jobs coming up in the area and for changes to the lease on the local courthouse building which could allow for a local museum.

There will be meetings with some opposition critics as well but those meetings had not yet been finalized last week.

MacDougall was looking forward to getting back to UBCM after being away for three years during Mayor Harwood’s time in the position.

“It’s always good to get together and reminisce and see what’s transpired over the past three years,” said MacDougall. “We’re not just going to complain or anything, with the transportation we’re going to thank them for the effort they’ve made so far with the passing lane.”

He also expressed his desire to recognize the efforts of MLA John Rustad, who will be accompanying them to their meetings.

“He’s been vital to the improvements that we’ve seen in our community,” said MacDougall.