Sooke is bringing its plan to ban ocean-based invasive salmon species to the forefront of B.C. politics next week when politicians from across the province gather in Vancouver for the annual Union of of B.C. Municipalities convention.
Council is prohibiting ocean-based invasive salmon farming in the wake of the collapse of an aquaculture facility that saw thousands of Atlantic salmon escape in Washington State last month.
Sooke council, led by Coun. Kevin Pearson, is now hoping other municipalities will join in the ban. The motion will need a vote from the floor to get on the agenda.
The convention will also debate other motions from throughout B.C. including controlling rat populations and the opioid crisis to calling for a national strategy for dealing with abandoned vessels.
“The UBCM resolutions provide us an opportunity to advocate to the province directly, and there’s strength when many communities join together advocating for one issue,” said Mayor Maja Tait, who is also the UBCM’s third vice-president.
The UBCM convention, from Sept. 25 to 29 brings together mayors, councillors and regional district officials, as well as provincial and federal politicians and senior bureaucrats to explore issues and discuss problems.
Most of Sooke council is attending this year’s conference.
“It’s face to face contact so you have the opportunity to meet with senior levels of government and raise issues that are important to your municipality,” Pearson said.
The UBCM convention is a “great learning opportunity,” added Coun. Brenda Parkinson.
Capital Regional District Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks is not going to this year’s convention, although he has attended in the past.
”I personally don’t get enough out of it to warrant the expense to my taxpayers. It’s pre-geared to municipalities,” he said. “I tend to go to things for a purpose, and this year I don’t have a purpose. I’m fairly well connected in my own world.”