Fewer raw logs, more funding on UBCM agenda

Raw logs and funding for search and rescue and victims services are the issues being highlighted by Alberni politicians at UBCM.

Raw logs and funding for search and rescue and victims services are the issues being highlighted by Alberni politicians at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention this week.

A UBCM resolution sponsored by the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District asks that “the provincial government reexamine the log export policy and the impact this policy has on the coastal forest industry.”

According to the ACRD, coastal log exports have increased in volume by 65 per cent from 2010 levels. In 2013, log exports totalled 6,348,674 cubic metres. The coastal regions, the ACRD stated, represent 90.6 percent of total log export volume in B.C.

In comments on the resolution, the UBCM resolution committee noted that the province had indicated in 2012 that it was engaged in a review of log export policy and would “take measures as necessary to ensure that domestic mills continue to have access to wood advertised for exports prior to exports being approved.”

The establishment of a provincial fund to support search and rescue is also on the ACRD’s radar for the UBCM.

Citing a 2012 coroner’s inquest jury recommendation that Emergency Management BC review and evaluate funding models to better support search and rescue operation and the resulting 2013 BC Search and Rescue Association’s recommendation of such a funding model, the ACRD is asking the province to implement that proposal.

The UBCM resolution committee commented that the provincial government had stated in 2013 that gaming grant funding was adequate for search and rescue’s needs and that it was unaware of any gaps.

The issue of how to fund police-based victim service programs will be up for resolution at the UBCM.

According to the ACRD, the province’s position of not fully funding police-based programs and instead relying on municipalities to cost share as part of their policing budget does not allow for the programs to receive the money they require.

The ACRD is asking the province to fully fund police-based victim service programs because “the property taxation system does not provide an equitable method of funding victim services” and local governments lack a funding formula to allocate those funds in a responsive, coordinated manner.

The UBCM convention runs from Sept. 21-25 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

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