Today in the legislature I introduced Bill M214 — Local Government Amendment Act, 2016.
If passed, this Bill will ensure that municipalities in BC cannot be incorporated without first ensuring that there are residents actually living in the area at the time of incorporation. This might seem like an unnecessary bill as it would seem obvious that a municipality, governed by a Mayor and two Councillors, should actually have people and property to govern. Well that’s not the case in the wild west of British Columbia politics.
Back in 2012, the BC Liberals amended The Local Government Act to allow mountain resort municipalities to be created that have no residents. In particular, this was done in support of the proposed Jumbo Glacier Mountain resort that I have written about earlier.
Given opposition to the resort by the Ktunaxa Nation, the fact that the environmental assessment certificate has expired, and that the project has not substantially started, it seemed timely to close the loophole for good as it sets a dangerous precedence.
Below I reproduce the text and video of my introduction of the Bill. I append our media release at the end.
A. Weaver: I move introduction of the Local Government Amendment Act, 2016.
A. Weaver: I am pleased to be introducing a bill intituled the Local Government Amendment Act.
In British Columbia, we have a municipality that has no houses, no infrastructure and no people. The Jumbo Glacier Resort is designated as a mountain resort municipality, and despite having neither any people nor any buildings, it is governed by a mayor and two councillors and funded by the province.
For the existence of a municipality to make any sense, it needs people. The Local Government Amendment Act would ensure that this be the case across British Columbia. This bill would close a glaring loophole created in 2012 by this government solely to support a project that has not substantially started. It’s opposed by the Ktunaxa Nation — and whose environmental assessment certificate has expired.
I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Bill M214, Local Government Amendment Act, 2016, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Media Release: April 6, 2016
Andrew Weaver – Municipalities in B.C. should not be created without people.
For Immediate Release
Victoria B.C. – Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, today introduced a Bill that would ensure municipalities could not be created unless there were people actually living in the area first.
“Normally you might assume that you would need to have people living in an area before you could form a municipality,” says Weaver. “That was the case in B.C. until the government made an exception a few years ago. In 2012 the government introduced a loophole that allowed Mountain Resort Municipalities to exist without any residents.”
Today Andrew Weaver introduced the Local Government Amendment Act, 2016. It is a bill designed to repeal the changes made in 2012 to the Local Government Act under the B.C. Liberals.
“The whole reason this ridiculous loophole exists in the first place is because this government has a pet project that it wanted to succeed, despite huge opposition from the local community and First Nations,” says Weaver. “Now a municipality exists that has no people, and to top it off it also has a mayor and councillors and the whole system is being funded by the British Columbian taxpayer. It’s an absurd situation and the bill I introduced today would close that loophole.”
“The approach to the Jumbo fiasco reminds me of how this government approached the Petronas deal last year. Not only are they choosing winners in the economy, they’re creating laws specific to helping those projects succeed. The laws of this province should not be used to help specific projects succeed or fail.”
Mat Wright – Press Secretary Andrew Weaver MLA
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