B.C. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin saluted the work of B.C. local governments Sept. 14 as Union of BC Municipalities kicked off its 118th annual convention, which is being held virtually for the second year due to the pandemic.
Austin said municipalities, their politicians and staff have helped foster a sense of community in a year where British Columbians have faced the hardships of the pandemic, forest fires and other climate change-related challenges and the opioid overdose crisis.
“You’ve moved heaven and earth to keep us safe,” Austin told delegates. “You’ve kept our spirits up with good work and good humour.”
She said citizens often have unrealistic expectations of their local governments, calling the work of local officials “a noble but often thankless task.” She said the pandemic has brought people together seeking community even when they were being kept apart.
The Queen’s representative noted it’s been in cases such as the response to the burning down of Lytton that demonstrated people’s ability to work to support each other in crisis in a spirit of compassion and consideration.
UBCM president Brian Frenkel, a Vanderhoof municipal councillor, said the 118th convention’s purpose is to set policy for the upcoming year for the umbrella group representing the province’s municipal level of government, including regional districts. Much of its work goes to lobbying Victoria and Ottawa on issues affecting municipalities.