Jobs, hoarding issues addressed

Local politicians look for answers at annual UBCM convention.

Economic development and policing were just two of the issues on the minds of local politicians as they attended the annual Union of BC Municipalities convention in Victoria late last month.

Every year the UBCM gives local government officials a chance to meet with provincial Cabinet Ministers as well as other officials, to discuss issues or lobby for projects.

Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta noted that the TNRD’s resolution to have the province ban waste exports to the U.S. was voted down by the assembly of municipal politicians.

However, he added that Surrey Councillor Marvin Hunt’s comments to the media that waste export to the U.S. was just one option, another being to continue using the Cache Creek Landfill  after 2016 was “A crack in the door that I haven’t seen before.”

Ranta said he was pleased to hear the remark from the former chair of Metro Vancouver’s Solid Waste Committee, because all of the comments made by the Metro Vancouver Regional District in recent years have totally excluded the Cache Creek Landfill.

Along with councillors Wyatt McMurray and Herb Hofer, Ranta also met with Premier Premier Christy Clark and Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines, about using CESL technology for building a copper refinery in the area.

“From Princeton to Prince George, they  are shipping copper concentrate (sulfate) to smelters in Asia,” Ranta said, “and contributing to global degradation by creating acid rain.”

CESL has developed hydrometallurgical processes for the production of copper and nickel cathode from their respective concentrates, among other things, using a closed-loop process that produces no liquid effluents or sulphur dioxide.

He said his council has met with CESL and Tech Cominco, whose Technology Division developed the process, but Tech isn’t interested because most of their product is sold to Asia and so has to be shipped there anyway.

Clark and her Minister were not ready to lead with the project, said Ranta, but Cache Creek will continue to work on it. He added that Belkorp was willing to discuss it and have property available that they just bought next to the Wastech yard.

Ranta said they also met with Interior Health CEO Dr. Robert Halpenny to discuss how local mental health issues are taxing local services like the RCMP because of the lack of actual mental health services.

Ashcroft Mayor Andy Anderson and his council met with Mary Polak, Minister of Transportation, to discuss mainly the BC Transit system and how the local service would be paid for.

They also spoke with Attorney General Shirley Bond regarding lengthening the three-year term of duty for those RCMP officers who want to stay longer in a community. Some officers want to settle into our communities and join in, said Anderson. They may not feel comfortable doing that knowing they’re going to be transferred somewhere else in three years.

They spoke to the Minister of Health, Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid about using local donations of materials and cash to build a helipad near the hospital if the government would pave it and do the electrical work, saying the Minister and her staff were thrilled with the idea.

Ashcroft’s resolution calling on the government to create legislation allowing local governments to address safety concerns in residences of hoarders was passed.

Anderson said homes with a hoarding issue create series of problems that affect their neighbours and extend further into the community.

Besides vermin like rats, cockroaches or fleas that can travel to other houses, houses with large collections of debris can create fire hazards and safety problems for emergency services if they have to enter the home.

Anderson said he spoke to elected officials from other communities who faced the same issue and had no authority to take  action.

Anderson says he hopes the provincial government will take the resolution seriously and look into the problem.