The 2019 UBCM Convention will be held from September 23 to 27 in Vancouver, BC at the Vancouver Convention Centre. (UBCM photo)

City of Terrace meets ministers to discuss impacts of LNG boom at UBCM

City councillors are in Vancouver this week from Sept. 23-27

Terrace city councillors are in Vancouver today to attend the Union of BC Municipalities conference which runs until Sept. 27.

The convention is the main forum for policy-making in the province, providing an opportunity for local governments to share their experiences and take a united position through passing resolutions on issues of the day.

It also presents municipal leaders an opportunity to speak with provincial ministers on specific local topics.

All Terrace councillors will be attending except for Coun. Lynn Christiansen. This year, council sent two resolutions to UBCM proposing liquor tax sharing revenues and a provincial universal plan for childcare facilities without depending on municipalities to create and run them.

READ MORE: Terrace resolutions on liquor tax, childcare to be presented at UBCM

Currently on the list is the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Council is also waiting on confirmation to meet with Premier John Horgan and the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.

With Horgan, the city wants grant application approvals sped up, more provincial policing officers, and secure funding for social service agencies in Terrace.

Potential impacts the community will see from LNG Canada is a main topic of discussion for these meetings.

READ MORE: ‘What’s in it for Terrace?’ City braces for impacts of LNG development

City staff have pulled together a statistics package including the current number of building permits, the number of RCMP highway calls, 911 statistics, Northwest Regional Airport statistics, BC Ambulance Service statistics and other information from the Ksan Society for provincial officials to consider. City staff were also asked to research the number of mental health service providers in the region.

Once a meeting is confirmed, the city plans to ask Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth for four additional police officers on top of the three already approved.

A meeting with Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson will discuss the impacts of LNG Canada on the community, asking for information regarding the new supportive housing projects in Terrace. The need for affordable seniors housing will also be mentioned.

READ MORE: City of Terrace pushes for grant funding to start $10M bench access improvement project

Funding related to the Mile 28 CN Rail overpass project on Hwy 16 west of Terrace will also be brought up with Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevana.

That project was shelved recently but the money that was earmarked for it is not now being utilized in the region, leading the city to argue it should be used instead for the city’s high-priority $10 million Lanfear Hill reconstruction project.

LNG impacts will be discussed further with the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall, and the Minister of Finance Carole James. A regional district tax sharing agreement will also be brought up with James.

In addition, council is also set to meet with Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy to discuss aspects around the supports provided through the province’s Rapid Response to Homelessness, including Sonder House, the supportive housing project on Olson Avenue, further.

Council will also ask for a provincial commitment to boost social services in the Terrace area due to the impacts of LNG Canada. The need for additional First Nations mental health counsellors was also identified.

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