No Complaints From Port Edward Mayor Following 2019 UBCM Convention

Brittany Webster

Tame, but not disappointing - that's how Port Edward's Mayor described last week's Union of BC Municipalities convention.

Members of municipal governments across the province gathered last week in Vancouver and Mayor Knut Bjorndal said that although the district didn't put forth any resolutions, they had some great discussions with provincial ministries.

Bjorndal sat down with the ministry of education to discuss the future of the school in Port Edward and said, "the education ministry indicates that they're going to have more funding for rural schools, which is good for us because we're down to about ten students." Bjorndal says they've requested funding to keep the school bus service running which he feels confident will happen, adding that having the school is critical to recruiting new residents.

Members of Port Edward's council also sat down with the Ministry of Environment to determine whose responsibilty it is to monitor the coal dust from Ridley Terminals, and although the lines are a little blurred, Bjorndal says the federal government and Environment Canada may have a role to play.

And for the decision that wasn't in Port Edward's favour, Bjorndal says he's OK with it. The decision was made to allocate the majority of the Rural Dividend Fund to communities that are forest dependent and sufferring from saw mill closures and lack of timber. "My personal opinion, that's a good cause. I mean, if you're going to take money from the fund it's better for it to go to people who are dependant on resource industry that that's where the money goes." Bjorndal says the district did request funding from the Rural Dividend Program, but that none of the applications were for urgent matters.

This was Bjorndal's first UBCM convention as a mayor, having attended six previously as a councillor, and he says there were no surprises which made for a smooth week.

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