The Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention took place at the Victoria Conference Centre from April 13-15. (Nicholas Pescod/News Bulletin)

City of Nanaimo’s proposed resolutions rejected at local government conference

City council had contingent at Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention

A number of proposed resolutions put forward by the City of Nanaimo were not endorsed during a municipal government conference last weekend.

The City of Nanaimo had submitted four resolutions for debate at the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities general meeting and convention, which took place April 13-15 in Victoria.

The resolutions the city submitted included strengthening penalties regarding breaches of confidentiality, banning retail sales of pets in pet stores, and reducing local government term in office from four years to three. Nanaimo also submitted a resolution calling for local governments to have more flexibility with funding park and play field improvements. However, AVICC did not allow it to be included for debate, saying that it came after the deadline and that the city had known about the issue well ahead of time.

Resolutions submitted to AVICC are voted on by an executive committee as well as AVICC members, who are elected officials hailing from various local governments across Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast, the central coast and the north coast.

Coun. Diane Brennan, who attended all three days of the convention, said all Nanaimo’s proposed resolutions were defeated. She said there was no debate on strengthening penalties regarding breaches of confidentiality or a ban on retail pet sales, but reduction of council terms did generate a lengthy discussion from AVICC members.

“It was the only resolution from Nanaimo that got debated,” she said, adding that it was narrowly defeated.

Brennan said she felt the wording of the city’s resolution on the banning the sale of pets in retail stores was “unusual” in that it asked AVICC to take a position and encourage a ban, instead of requesting that they support the enforcement of a ban.

“It’s kind of a wonky way of doing things, generally you would ask the [members] to support it, but to ask AVICC … to take a position to encourage, I thought, was kind of unusual. I don’t know why no one spoke to it, they just didn’t,” she said.

Coun. Ian Thorpe, who also attended the convention, said when it came to the resolution regarding sanctions for breaches of confidentiality, AVICC members felt the resolution was too general.

“I think the reasoning was that there were no specific sanctions,” he said, adding that there was a similar recommendation a few years earlier that didn’t pass either.

Thorpe said he didn’t agree with the logic that AVICC members took when they defeated the retail pet ban resolution. Nanaimo’s resolution specifically called on AVICC and UBCM to encourage local governments to enforce a ban on the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits in pet stores, but Thorpe said AVICC members seemed to think otherwise.

“I didn’t really agree with their rationale because they seemed to be thinking that it was asking the provincial government to do something, but really what it was asking was for AVICC to encourage other local governments within AVICC to enforce the ban,” he said.

Both councillors Thorpe and Brennan said they found AVICC to be a beneficial experience. Brennan said the convention provides elected officials with the opportunity to attend seminars, listen to keynote speakers and meet other elected official, adding that it is important for councillors to educate themselves.

“Councillors have to be better than average,” she said. “We need to be educated.”

Resolutions endorsed at AVICC are brought forward to Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, which takes place this September in Whistler.

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