OIL tanker traffic and marijuana decriminalization may be on the agenda at the 2012 Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention, but the opportunity for lobbying the province may be the event's greatest attraction.
The five-day conference, being held in Victoria this year, brings together delegates from 193 local governments around the province. This is the first time that every B.C. municipality, regional district and aboriginal community will be represented.
"It's our opportunity to get together and discuss common issues and set policy direction for the coming year," said Heath Slee, president of the UBCM.
More than 200 resolutions are being voted on at the conference. Slee said the marijuana decriminalization debate is bound to generate many different points of view.
"We have a workshop where the experts are going to provide . . . hopefully a balanced approach to the issue," he said.
The conference also facilitates meetings between local government officials and provincial ministers, which Mayor Richard Walton of the District of North Vancouver said would be a priority for him.
He said he would be speaking with six cabinet ministers and four NDP critics, focusing on issues of policing, environmental regulations and public transportation.
The city and district re-signed a contract with the RCMP in June, but Walton said there are many questions that are still unanswered.
"We're still very much sort of considering our options for the future and engaging in a study of alternatives," he said.
"We are going to have a good frank conversation with the solicitor general on that and get her views and thoughts."
Five of six councillors in the district are attending the convention. Lobbying aside, Walton said it's important to be aware of what is going on in other communities.
"You learn from colleagues and you learn from best practices in other places. If you don't get out of your community, very often you just become myopic," he said.
Naomi Yamamoto, who was recently appointed Minister of State for Small Business, said from a provincial standpoint, the resolutions passed at the UBCM are useful.
"It's a really good way for us to look at what is important to the communities. We look at every resolution that is passed and we respond to it."
The City of North Vancouver is the only North Shore community that will be tabling resolutions at the convention.
Premier Christy Clark is set to address delegates on Friday.
The cost of the convention is $920,000, which is recovered through sponsorships and fees.