Councillors off to UBCM convention

Doug Bing doing double duty as a councillor and MLA

  • Aug. 30, 2013 12:00 p.m.

After listening to their counterparts from across Canada at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in June, Maple Ridge councillors will do the same thing in Vancouver Sept. 16 to 20, when the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention happens in the same place.

“I feel this is probably the biggest conference we should be attending,” said Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters.

“We do a lot of work at this conference, with policy setting, connecting with our provincial MLAs.”

Pitt Meadows councillors want to talk to the minister of housing and the minister of transportation, regarding the North Lougheed Connector, which just got the OK from the Agricultural Land Commission.

Walters, along with Couns. Tracy Miyashita and Janice Elkerton will be spending the four nights in Vancouver. Walters will be staying at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel near the Vancouver Convention Centre.

“There is a lot of work that we do at the UBCM,” she said. Pitt Meadows has underspent its budget allotted for conferences and education, she pointed out.

Pitt Meadows Coun. Doug Bing will also be there doing double duty as councillor and as new Liberal MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows.

He’s no longer drawing a councillor’s salary since being elected to the B.C. legislature in May.

He said it won’t be awkward talking to the mayor of Pitt Meadows who could be talking to him as an MLA.

His main job will be introducing Pitt and Maple Ridge councillors to cabinet ministers, that’s usually what MLAs do, he added. It’s not certain yet which ministers will be available, he added.

Bing won’t be staying overnight and will be attending daily as both councillor and MLA. “We have enough councillors there to do the job certainly and I’ve just got one additional role, that’s all.”

Coun. Bruce Bell is working and will try to attend as many daytime meetings as possible.

Bing isn’t alone in his predicament. He said eight councillors and four mayors from B.C. towns were elected to the legislature. “There’s definitely some of us involved.”

Maple Ridge councillors Mike Morden, Al Hogarth, Cheryl Ashlie, Bob Masse and Corisa Bell also are attending UBCM.

Masse will be there three full days but commuting home each night.

Masse is too busy to spend the nights in Vancouver. If he was going to attend evening receptions, he’d likely stay over, “but I’m just not going to do that.”

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin also will be commuting, saying he used to making early starts.

Coun. Al Hogarth though will be staying the four nights in Vancouver, although he doesn’t know at which hotel. He said though it’s “definitely” not the Fairmont. “That’s far too expensive.”

Bell is the second councillor staying over, booked in at the  Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel from Sept. 15 to 20.

Shed disagreed  with council scheduling a public hearing for Sept. 17 which will prevent her from attending a UBCM reception in Vancouver.

The public hearing was supposed to be at the end of September. Council can choose its dates, she added.

The meeting will hear public comments on density bonusing for north Albion and the proposed medical marijuana bylaw allowing pot to be grown in the Agricultural Land Reserve areas of Maple Ridge.

The annual gathering of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in June at the convention centre sparked controversy with local politicians staying at hotels.

Coun. Bob Masse then saying that  the all-day conferences and the receptions that run late into the evening made it worthwhile staying over at the Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel.