AKBLG issues decided

Cranbrook City Council chooses key points for regional debate.

Cranbrook’s councillors will be heading to a local government convention in April with two battles to fight.

On Monday, January 7, council decided on two issues to bring forward for debate at the annual general meeting for the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments on April 17 in Invermere.

At the meeting, Kootenay elected officials vote on issues to bring to the attention of provincial and federal governments.

Councillor Sharon Cross suggested two motions for Cranbrook to take forward to the meeting, and the rest of council threw their support behind the suggestions.

First, council wants to ask the province to reinstate farm gate sales to support the growth of the agricultural community and respond to consumers’ desire for locally grown foods.

The motion points out that in ten years, between 2001 and 2011, the number of cattle ranching operations in the East Kootenay decreased from 151 to 78; the number of pig farms decreased from 25 to one; the number of poultry and egg producers went down from nine to one; and the number of sheep and goat farms went from 56 to five.

Councillor Bob Whetham pointed out that the Regional District of East Kootenay is presently working on an agricultural plan for the area.

“When we get a lot of money being spent on developing an Agricultural Plan, and at the same time we are faced with regulations which inhibit any small business from actually making that effective, we need to get our senior levels of government in line with what it takes to make this succeed,” he said.

The second motion asks the provincial government to work with the RCMP to develop another level of policing services in municipalities. Rising RCMP costs are a problem for many B.C. municipalities, and a Peace Officer service could relieve pressure on RCMP officers.