An annual conference of civic politicians is set to include local representatives in Victoria next week, as mayors and councillors will lobby the provincial government on municipal issues.
Cranbrook is no exception, as Mayor Lee Pratt and city councillors Ron Popoff, Tom Shypitka and Wesly Graham, along with Chief Administration Officer David Kim, will be heading down to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference to advocate for issues that resonate with local residents.
In terms of meetings with provincial cabinet ministers, there are issues ranging from traffic lights on highways to updates with the with the Cranbrook/Kimberley Economic Development Initiative.
One meeting of interest involves a sit-down with Mike Morris, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor about the potential of having a penitentiary in the region.
“We’re going to be pitching the penitentiary idea,” said Pratt, who will be making the presentation with Kimberley mayor Don McCormick. “We’re going to give an overview of what we’re doing.
“We’re planning a trip to Ottawa after UBCM, but we thought we’d let them know where we’re at with it and give them an update on the positives to this location.”
The proposal is in very preliminary stages, according to Pratt, but requires federal approval if it goes forward.
“The federal government owns the land, it’s the old Kimberley airport, so we’re just pitching to them, that if they’re going to build a new penitentiary, that’d be a big savings to them, cost-wise, as they already own the land,” Pratt said.
“We’ve got all the services here, we’ve got the airport within five minutes of it, we’ve got the hospital and the college and the regional stuff that all the bigger centres have — we have it here, too, and the labour force that would be more than able to satisfy the needs.”
Pratt adds that even though the discussions are extremely preliminary, it’s important to get the process started as early as possible. Having the support of the provincial government will go a long way to getting federal approval, he said.
Another meeting will include some FaceTime with Teresa Wat, the Minister of International Trade and Minster Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism, who put Pratt and McCormick in touch with some investment opportunities related to the Cranbrook/Kimberley Economic Development Initiative.
Turning lane lights at Highway 95A and Theatre Rd, along with the intersection at the top of Victoria Ave up Gold Creek, are topics also on the radar, which will require a meeting with Todd Stone, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
A wildfire interface proposal involving the timber sale of marketable products from areas that contain wildfire risks will be the subject of a conversation with Steve Thomson, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.