UBCM BRIEFS: River camping, treaty impacts, max fines, gender neutrality

Gender-inclusive language and a potential ban on riverbed camping were among debates of B.C. municipal leaders last week

Gravel or sand bars along the Similkameen River and other scenic rivers in B.C. often attract campers.

Campers who set up on sand bars of scenic B.C. rivers after high water to fish and party were in the crosshairs of some B.C. mayors at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

A motion that would have asked the province to ban camping in active riverbeds was defeated Friday despite the urging of Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer, who said crews each year haul away tonnes of garbage strewn in the sensitive habitat of the Similkameen River.

MORE COVERAGE OF UBCM

But Telkwa Mayor Darcy Repen said a total ban on river camping would be a huge blow to tourism in northwestern B.C., where large numbers of people camp along the banks of the Skeena River each summer.

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz sympathized with Bauer and slammed the messy campers who foul the Chilliwack River.

“They leave behind a tremendous amount of trash, things that are absolutely detrimental to our river. We have people driving their trucks into the river,” she said.

“The real issue is there are not enough conservation officers, let’s be really frank,” Gaetz said to strong applause. “If we want to have tourism in our communities, let’s get with it province, and let’s be sure we are looked after properly by conservation officers.”

Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt also opposed the resolution, saying many people practice proper no-trace camping and shouldn’t be banned. He also suggested a ban might lead to greater risk of erosion, wildfires and other problems if riverbed campers are pushed to higher ground.

North Cowichan Coun. Al Siebring questioned whether a ban could even be enforced, given court rulings allowing tent cities in city parks.

 

Ranchland treaty impacts raised

The plight of ranchers in the Interior who have discovered treaty negotiations may result in them losing leased Crown land to local First Nations got a turn in the spotlight at UBCM.

Cariboo Regional District vice-chair Margo Wagner said some ranches may be bisected by a strip of aboriginal-requested land, and in one case a First Nation has expressed interest in land totally surrounding a ranch homestead as part of a treaty settlement.

“The lack of communication that has been done by both the province and the federal government is a disservice to the people that have farmed the land for a considerable number of generations,” she said.

The Cariboo Regional District wanted senior governments to guarantee better, more timely consultations with affected third parties, and to deliver more openness in treaty talks.

Delegates voted in favour of that in the end, but amended the CRD resolution to eliminate additional clauses that impacts on third parties be minimized and that they receive fair compensation at full market value.

Vancouver Coun. Adriane Carr said the excluded clauses were incompatible with efforts to reconcile with First Nations because they would have sent the signal that UBCM wants to minimize the impact on third parties and is therefore biased in favour of them and against First Nations.

 

Stiffer bylaw fines sought

Cities want the province to allow them to levy stiffer tickets for bylaw violations.

UBCM delegates passed a resolution asking the province to raise the the maximum fine to as much as $5,000 – up from the current $1,000 limit, which hasn’t changed since 2003.

West Vancouver Coun. Nora Gambioli said the a higher limit is needed to punish more serious bylaw offences such as illegal tree cutting, riparian area damage and dangerous dog violations.

She said the current $1,000 is not worth the time and expense for municipalities to mount a prosecution.

 

Stamping out the man

UBCM will ask the province to force all local governments to use gender-neutral language to be more inclusive of all citizens.

Many cities already choose to do so, but some delegates said holdouts don’t deserve a choice.

A resolution making the request passed, but there were opponents.

Esquimalt Coun. Susan Low said she doesn’t want the province overriding local autonomy in language matters, calling it a bad precedent.

And Powell River Regional District director Colin Palmer said such “silly” resolutions “abuse” the English language.

Palmer argued “man” in many words such as manhole and alderman reflect not exclusive gender but the latin root word “manus” that refers to hand and in some cases the act of voting with the hand.

“Nowadays, some of you are chairs,” he told delegates. “You used to be a chairman because you voted – you controlled the votes. You used to be an alderman because you were an elder who voted.”

Other delegates on the pro side expressed disbelief that there was any debate whatsoever.

The provincial government replaced the title alderman with councillor years ago after a 1990 request by UBCM.

UBCM delegates also passed a resolution urging local governments to develop and implement transgender inclusion policies.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coun. Tara Ney rakes leaves behind Oak Bay municipal hall. Ney’s motion asking staff to do a report on alternative options to the ongoing use of gas-powered leaf blowers in Oak Bay. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay a step closer to banning gas leaf blowers

Council leans toward a study on alternatives

Victoria police are warning the public of fraudsters impersonating Service Canada and VicPD in an attempt to have victims transfer money to bitcoins. (Unsplash photo)
Police issue warning after Victoria man scammed out of $6,000

Victim received calls from people impersonating Service Canada, VicPD

The Capital Regional District is considering adding another dollar a year to the parkland acquisition fund fee for homeowners. (Black Press Media file photo)
One dollar or two? Greater Victoria parks acquisition fee hike spurs debate

$2 a year too steep, CRD committee recommends $1 a year increase per household

Maureen Cue models maybe the most obvious pandemic Halloween costume this year. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Pandemic impacts trends in Halloween looks, says costume shop owner

Maureen Cue sees shift in costume rentals due to the pandemic

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

A full moon rises over Mt. Cheam on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rare full moon, Daylight Saving makes for a uniquely spooky Halloween – despite COVID-19

We can’t host costume parties but this weekend is still one for the history books

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

MNP senior economist Susan Mowbray presents the State of the Island Economic Report on Thursday night to conclude the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s virtual summit. (VIEA image)
Not-so-rosy State of the Island report caps off virtual summit

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s summit took place online Oct. 27-29

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Most Read