District of Lantzville Town Hall shown above.

District of Lantzville Town Hall shown above.

Lantzville to send three delegates to Victoria convention

LANTZVILLE – The Union of B.C. Municipalities convention takes place in September.

Three representatives from the District of Lantzville will be heading to a provincial convention this September.

On Monday, District of Lantzville councillors voted in favour of sending councillors Dot Neary and Bob Colclough and Mayor Colin Haime to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria.

The convention, which takes place from Sept. 26-30, gives councillors from municipalities across the province the opportunity to meet with various individuals from the provincial government and attend seminars and workshops.

UBCM convention is one of the more costly expenses for Lantzville councillors, as hotels cost anywhere from $150 to $300 a night in the Victoria region. Councillors are not required to attend the entire length of the convention.

Coun. John Coulson, who declined to attend, questioned the economic benefit of attending the convention, saying that they are “ glorified social events.”

“What’s the benefit? 2011 to 2014 we spent just under $60,000 sending individuals to these conferences, well what is the benefit other than the standard it is a good learning tool, good networking and stuff?” Coulson said.

He said there has to be an item or portion of the convention that will ultimately benefit the community in some capacity, whether it is economic or otherwise.

“To attend one of these things in my opinion, there has to be an item that drawing you down there, which will potentially lead to some benefit to the community.”

Neary said events such as the UBCM convention can be valuable, particularly since they offer attendees the opportunity to attend workshops, seminars and network.

Haime said that at previous conventions that he has attended he has learned about valuable information that can help the community.

“Some of the meetings that I’ve attended revolve around Phase 1 and Phase 2 of sewers have been good, but they are not the structured programs, that’s the meeting with ministers or staff,” he said. “Some of the stuff, for example, involve the marketplace. Sometimes people have come back with interesting things there, whether or not they provided a financial benefit is another question.”

Lantzville councillors have previously never reported back on what sessions they attended at the conference and showing the value aspect for the community, but Haime said that councillors should do so from now.

“What I would say is that participants report back and answer that question,” he said.Councillors Mark Swain, Will Geselbracht, Denise Haime declined to attend the September convention.