Penticton priorities discussed at UBCM

Stable and consistent capital funding, affordable housing and legislative restrictions were the topic of conversation with B.C. government representatives at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention this week.

Members of City Council were able to raise issues of importance for Penticton during face-to-face meetings with B.C. cabinet ministers in Vancouver. Topics of meetings ranged widely according to some of the issues facing the municipality:

  • Stable and consistent capital funding for local governments: Penticton representatives met with Ministry of Community Sport and Cultural Development to discuss opportunities for consistent, stable funding for infrastructure, particularly those with asset management plans. It can be difficult to do long-range planning for replacement and rehabilitation without certainty of funding. The City of Penticton is proposing that municipalities obtain regular capital funding if they have implemented an asset management plan – and that reporting by the municipality be required annually before the next installment is provided.
  • Affordable housing: Penticton representatives met with the Ministry of Natural Gas Development – Responsible for Housing to continue working with the City of Penticton on opportunities for affordable housing projects and consider assisting with support that would expedite a local housing strategy.  The lack of affordable and adequate housing in Penticton has been cited as a challenge to the attraction and retention of workers by several large employers.
  • Confined space entry regulations: Penticton representatives asked that waste water treatment plants be temporarily exempted from WorksafeBC confined space regulations until input from plant owners and operators can be provided on revised regulations.
  • Economic incentives: Penticton representatives requested the Ministry of Community Sport and Culture consider amendments to the Community Charter to allow for more flexibility in providing economic incentives. For instance, some businesses want to invest in their operations, but may not trigger a large-scale building permit, which is the only available mechanism for municipalities. Other smaller scale initiatives like providing for bike racks and related amenities aren’t eligible for relief under current legislations, and can support broader strategies like downtown revitalization or cycling network experiences.

“Penticton is moving forward with long-range infrastructure planning and economic development, but making progress on these fronts requires provincial partnerships. UBCM meetings with B.C. government representatives are a critical first step in opening the dialogue on needed funding and legislative changes that will help local government provide required services in an efficient and effective way,” said Mayor Andrew Jakubeit.