Local mayors, RDEK area directors meet with Morrison

Kootenay-Columbia MP drops in on regional district meeting for post-election introduction

Kootenay Columbia MP Rob Morrison stopped by the monthly regional district meeting to hear feedback from local mayors and area directors as part of a tour of the riding.

Sparwood Mayor David Wilks kicked off a few brief suggestions, outlining challenges with rural policing as well as securing federal infrastructure funding for smaller communities, speaking as both a former RCMP member and the region’s Member of Parliament.

“I think there’s a time and a discussion to be made with provinces going to their own provincial police force,” said Wilks.

Morrison, also a former RCMP member, said its time that the RCMP let provinces and regions select their own members.

“Priorities for hiring in Ottawa are different than priorities for Cranbrook, or our Kootenay-Columbia riding,” Morrison said. “…Rural policing is different, it’s not like policing in Montreal or Calgary or Vancouver and I think the RCMP has gone away from that a bit and I think we need our police officers wanting to be in our communities and staying here.”

Wilks also touched on the challenges of securing federal infrastructure funding for smaller communities such as Sparwood, using the example of an unsuccessful bid for a grant that would have gone towards a water line replacement.

“Let’s face it, we’re not a Liberal riding, so that diminishes the opportunity somewhat, I can tell you personally that’s what happens,” Wilks said. “So the next thing that happens is, you hope you get that grant and if you don’t get it, well then you apply next time.

“I think there’s an opportunity for the government to move away from the grant process for infrastructure requirements for communities across Canada, whether that be Toronto or whether that be Sparwood, or whatever — it doesn’t matter — and go towards something similar to what the gas tax is, where you have a guaranteed fund of money that you’re getting every year, for asset management.”

Dedicating one per cent of the GST toward asset management for municipalities across Canada was an idea Wilks said he brought forward when he was an MP.

“It would be billions of dollars,” he said.

The predictability of funding would be better than the current system, Wilks added, contrasting it to a lottery.

“I think, luckily because of the minority government, we do have a little bit more of a stick than we did when it was a majority government,” Morrison said. “It is a lottery and I’ll be fighting for all of the infrastructure funding throughout Kootenay-Columbia, as much as we can get.”

RDEK board chair Rob Gay also raised the challenges of securing federal funding for rural fire departments, noting that some funding streams aren’t eligible for capital projects such as building a fire hall or purchasing a new fire engine.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Kiakho Lake wildfire being held, Stirton Rd wildfire under control

Latest update on two local wildfires in the Kimberley and Cranbrook area

Cranbrook Bucks set to open rookie camp at the end of August

Junior hockey will feature in Cranbrook at the end of the month,… Continue reading

Officials raise alarm over water, environmental ‘crisis’ in Baynes Lake area

Local officials are sounding the alarm over a water and environmental crisis… Continue reading

The Murdochs: Fast Track to Hockey Stardom

Every Canadian hockey story, like that of the Murdochs of Cranbrook, seems to start in the backyard

Cranbrook RCMP looking for stolen red pickup truck

The vehicle is a red 1998 Chevy S10 pickup

Hiroo Onoda’s Thirty-Year War

Some Japanese soldiers, not knowing the war was over, did not surrender until 1972

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Most Read