One main concern dominated Coldstream’s presence at the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria – water.
“The main thing out of it was water: water licensing, water protection and what we can do to move ahead,” said Mayor Jim Garlick, who attended the conference with councillors Maria Besso, Doug Dirk and Gyula Kiss.
“They need to reduce the complexity of dealing with water issues,” said Garlick, adding that despite his efforts, they were given the run-around quite often at the UBCM meetings.
Virtually all water issues are tied into multiple ministries – as an example when Coldstream tries to work on creek restoration it often has to gain approvals from the ministries of environment, agriculture, lands and even the department of fisheries.
The province appointed drinking water co-ordinators to ease the complexity of water issues and assist municipalities, but one councillor wonders if they even exist.
“Who are the drinking water co-ordinators? Does anybody know their names?” said Coun. Doug Dirk.
“Next time we go, we should be armed to point out all the gaps and flaws in the process.”
Coun. Gyula Kiss also steered his conversations with ministry officials towards water, particularly licenses.
He suggests that more water licenses should be granted down stream, which would allow increased flows down area creeks and rivers.
“It benefits not only the community but the fish in the creeks,” said Kiss.
Coun. Maria Besso is pleased with the efforts made at UBCM.
“I think we were good ambassadors for Coldstream and it was worth every taxpayer penny.”