September is typically when representatives from all municipalities and regional districts in British Columbia gather together for a week-long convention. It is called UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities) and in 2020 it was to be held in Victoria. I had been looking forward to this event since last year's in Vancouver as it has been 30+ years since I have been on Vancouver Island and longer since I have been to Victoria. Sadly, COVID-19 canceled this year's UBCM turning it into a "virtual" event.
One of the key components of UBCM is access to provincial ministers and ministry staff. Last year we (the delegation for the Town of Princeton) attended three or four (I don't exactly remember now) short appointments with mostly ministry staff to discuss specific concerns. The cancellation of UBCM permitted us to connect with more ministers and ministry staff in mini-phone conferences. I'll outline those later. Being able to speak directly to these people is good for the community as often the conversations open or improve lines of communication, information sharing, and co-operation.
September is also the month when all of the Town Council and staff get together for two days of strategic planning. This is essentially where we look at and review what has been accomplished in the previous year and map out what needs to be done in 2021. In October, two days of additional strategic planning narrows down what will eventually become the roadmap we will follow into 2021 with an eye on 2022 and beyond. It is often an intense series of sessions in a casual setting that accomplishes a great deal over two days.
Meetings, Meetings, Meetings
What would my life be on the town council if it didn't include a full schedule of meetings? September is no exception and I was kept rather busy with committee meetings on top of other town council meetings. In all, I missed just three meetings during the month - all due to time conflicts. Here is a look at my September schedule and some details on what some of these meetings were about.
Town Council Meetings
Tuesday, September 8 - Regular meeting of Town Council, Town Hall
Monday, September 28 - Regular meeting of Town Council, Town Hall
Wednesday, September 9 - Strategic Planning Session, RockRidge Canyon
Thursday, September 10 - Strategic Planning Session, RockRidge Canyon
UBCM Ministry Meetings
Tuesday, September 15 - 8:30 AM - Premier John Horgan
(discussed various infrastructure items plus the aquatic pool/wellness centre application)
Tuesday, September 15 - 1:30 PM - George Heyman, Environment Ministry
(discussed issues related to conservation services)
Thursday, September 17 - 11:50 AM - Municipal Affairs and Housing Ministry Staff
(discussed aquatic pool/wellness centre and housing needs report)
Thursday, September 17 - 1:20 PM - Municipal Affairs and Housing Ministry Staff
(discussed infrastructure capacity needs)
Thursday, September 17 - 2:30 PM - Lana Popham, Agriculture Minister
(discussed potential land development, ALR matters)
Thursday, September 17 - 3:30 PM - Claire Trevena, Transportation Minister
(discussed need for traffic control lights along Highway 3)
Tuesday, September 15 - Princeton Health Care Steering Committee, Zoom Meeting
Wednesday, September 16 - Princeton Arts Council AGM *
(I conducted the Election of Officers)
Thursday, September 17 - Princeton Museum Meeting, Museum *
Thursday, September 17 - 5 PM - 50+ Impactful People of Princeton Event, Airport
(I took my wife, Brenda, to this event hosted by the Community Foundation)
* - denotes meetings attended alone. All others include other members of the Town Council and/or Town Staff.
October is already getting busy with dates filling my calendar. I also expect to hear sometime during the month on the next step related to my current health condition. I have been working hard on building my strength (both heart and physical) as I have been in conversation this past month with two specialists who are continuing to piece together my treatment plan. I'll keep you posted on what is going on, but for now…I am staying as busy as possible with Town Council duties while I am able. Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support as I recovery from congestive heart failure.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly community newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.