New ecosystem protection legislation, tiny home building standard among resolutions at UBCM convention

·2 min read

A total of 206 resolutions will be discussed at the Union of BC Municipalities’s September convention, including three submitted by the Islands Trust and four from the Regional District of Nanaimo.

Islands Trust’s resolutions focus on affordable housing support for rural areas, new legislation to protect and restore biological diversity and ecosystem health and climate risk and vulnerability assessment.

The affordable housing resolution says the province’s Homes for BC housing affordability plan “largely benefits urban areas that have better access to both resources and support services than rural areas.” The resolution calls for funding and support for rural local governments to implement affordable housing projects.

New legislation to protect and restore biological diversity and ecosystem health should be developed in in a manner consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and involve local governments and Indigenous leadership, among other stakeholders, the Islands Trust’s second resolution says. “Cumulative impacts of inadequate provincial environmental regulations impose costs and risks on local communities, including risks associated with climate change, drinking water supply, wildfire hazard, flooding and security of municipal infrastructure, and may undermine local government planning,” it states.

The province should also fund developing and integrating climate risk and vulnerability assessments into official community plan review processes, the Islands Trust’s third resolution says. Local governments are faced with developing climate change adaptation plans and policies, which require detailed analysis of local risks and vulnerabilities, necessitating the call for provincial support, the resolution says.

The RDN’s resolutions relate to legislative reform, transit and tiny homes.

The first resolution calls for a review and update to the Local Government Act to align regional districts’ authority with municipalities. Unlike municipalities, regional districts have limited authority in areas including business licensing, subdivision approval, fireworks discharge, parking enforcement, tree management and taxation and funding models.

The RDN has also submitted a resolution calling for a tiny home building standard to support their use as allowable permanent dwellings. Tiny homes do not have a specific building code, creating barriers related to zoning regulations, financing and insurance. Streamlining the ability to adopt them as a housing option could partially address the availability of affordable housing, the resolution states. The resolution will be referred to a similar one submitted by the Town of Oliver.

The UBCM executive will also put forward three special resolutions for consideration by the membership related to the health care crisis, the opioid and overdose crisis and provincial responsibility for flood protection. The convention runs Sept. 14-16.

Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder