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Nanaimo resolutions pass at UBCM conference

Nanaimo city council put forward four resolutions while attending the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference in Victoria this week (Sept. 24-28).

The annual conference brings elected municipal officials from across the province to share their positions and address common issues through policy making.

"It's an opportunity for elected officials to get together and deal with a lot of common issues like infrastructure, road remediation, water and sewer and all of that good stuff," said Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan from Victoria Tuesday.

This year, Nanaimo put forward resolutions involving seniors MSP premiums, housing for people with developmental disabilities, changes to the Fisheries Act and citizenship and immigration cutbacks.

They all passed.

"Some are more concerning than others but they all have merit," said Ruttan. "One of them may not be a world beater but I'm personally disappointed in the closure of the citizenship and immigration office in Nanaimo. I used to enjoy going and welcoming the new Canadian citizens but now offices in Victoria, Nanaimo and Kelowna have been closed and so people now have to go to Vancouver."

The resolutions are voted on to gauge support within UBCM members to form policy but are not binding. They are, however, forwarded to senior levels of government for consideration for legislation or policy consideration.

The Fisheries Act resolution revolved around concerns over federal cutbacks to fisheries officers that could affect water courses and riparian areas in municipal areas. The resolution calls for Bill C-38 to reconsider those cutbacks.

Municipalities also made it clear they want the province to reinstate funding for adults with developmental disabilities and to provide adequate housing for them.

Nanaimo Coun. George Anderson said he didn't support the senior MSP premiums resolution, which calls for seniors to pay their health care premiums through income tax instead of monthly payments.

"The only reason I disagreed with it was because we need to make sure it's a fair system because there are seniors who can afford to pay MSP premiums, but there are a lot of young families and middle aged people who are in hardships and have fixed incomes as well," said Anderson.

Overall, elected officials voted on 212 resolutions over the course of the week.

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