Premier John Horgan speaks to Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler, Sept. 14, 2018. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Premier calls for ideas for protecting against B.C. floods, wildfires

John Horgan promotes voting reform to B.C. municipal leaders

Premier John Horgan used his speech to B.C. municipal leaders Friday to pitch a ‘yes’ vote in the coming referendum on electoral reform, while steering clear of his government’s controversial tax policies.

Horgan was warmly received by Union of B.C. Municipalities delegates in Whistler, promising to be “a partner, not a senior partner” as B.C. works on ways to protect communities from wildfires. The second straight summer of flooding and widespread fires means a new approach is needed, and he pleaded with local politicians to share their ideas as the government prepares its next budget.

Horgan described flying up and down the lower Fraser River during the flood threat this spring, with local opposition MLAs. He pledged to tackle the hugely expensive work needed to strengthen flood control and helping communities reduce their interface forest fire risk.

“This is not another review, we need your ideas,” Horgan said. “We need a call to action.”

RELATED: B.C. communities call for wildfire prevention help

RELATED: Infrastructure fund improved for B.C. communities

Horgan described his evolution on proportional representation, which he opposed in 2005 and now promotes as mail-in ballots are prepared for a November vote.

After four years in opposition to “a government that was dismissive of everything I brought forward,” he supported proportional representation in 2009 and is now promoting it in cooperation with the B.C. Green Party.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson described the premier’s speech as a rehash of well-known policies of the minority NDP government, and took issue with Horgan’s theme of a new, more co-operative approach to governing.

The referendum has been dealt with in a “high-handed” manner, with no maps and little time for people to consider the options, Wilkinson said.

An improved federal-provincial infrastructure fund for B.C. communities doesn’t make up for a huge tax increase faced by municipalities and businesses next year due to the NDP government’s payroll tax for health care, he said.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver reiterated his opposition to a $400-a-year rebate for renters, in spite of a potential 4.5 per cent rent increase allowed under provincial legislation. Handing out money to renters only allows landlords to raise rents when they might not otherwise, Weaver said.

a>
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Spike in Jaffray bear calls cause for concern

In 2018 there were 38 calls about bears spotted in the Jaffray area, compared to one call in 2017.

Snow on the way for Elk Valley

Winter weather advisory issued for East Kootenay with up to 15cm of snow expected over the next week

Snow removal still an issue for mobility challenged in Fernie

Disability advocate sees little improvement in sidewalk clearing; City promises to review policy

Sparwood trails community growing

Sparwood Trails Alliance grows trail network, membership; hosting fatbike event February 2

Huge demand for youth funding in the Elk Valley

Emily Brydon Youth Foundation overwhelmed by 2018/19 winter applications from local youth

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

BREAKING: Jury finds man accused of killing B.C. girl, 12, guilty

Twelve-year-old Monica Jack disappeared in May 1978 while riding her bike along a highway in Merritt, B.C.

B.C. government extends coastal log export rules for six months

Premier John Horgan promises reform at loggers’ convention

B.C. pair accused of ‘honour-killing’ in India to be extradited within days

Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha are accused of conspiracy to commit murder

OPINION: Jaffray bear meeting good first step, but not enough

A large number of individuals attended the grizzly bear meeting in Jaffray… Continue reading

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

FOCUS: Canada’s revamped impaired driving law brews ‘potential for injustice’

There must be ‘trigger’ for cops to come knocking, Surrey MP says

Barack Obama to speak at Vancouver event

Former U.S. president will speak with board of trade in March

Most Read