On Tuesday, the District of West Kelowna council voted to provide funding for two delegates to attend the 2012 Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Conference, despite Mayor Doug Findlater’s disapproval.
From June 1 to 4, the district will send two delegates to Saskatoon, Sask. for the conference, where workshops and study tours will be conducted on topics of common interest.
Council agreed to provide funding for up to $5,500 for the two delegates to attend.
“I went the first year to FCM when it was in Whistler, thinking it might be as valuable as UBCM. I wasn’t impressed; I haven’t been since,” said Findlater.
“Others have gone; we have reports come back. I haven’t found anything that’s come back particularly illuminating and valuable to the district, so I won’t support this.
“I think it’s going to be a tough budget year—$5,500 could be spent (better) elsewhere.”
Coun. Carol Zanon disagreed with the mayor’s opinion and said she “greatly believes in the value of FCM.”
“Municipalities are just a creature of the provincial government. We have no direct mechanism for relationship with the (federal government). FCM provides us the tools to do that for a closer relationship and to be informed on matters,” said Zanon.
“FCM has done a lot for us and given the infrastructure program for which we’ve been able to build sewer programs and the gas tax rebate.”
Zanon admitted that not much was accomplished at the Whistler FCM conference; however, said that the conference has been beneficial since then.
Coun. Bryden Winsby agreed with Findlater that the Whistler conference was a disappointment, but he said that he still saw value in attending the 2012 conference.
“I concur with what Coun. Zanon is saying: It is a conduit for the junior level of government to talk to the big kids,” said Winsby.
“I think it is important to maintain the contact and continue the policy that we have had. Providing funding for no more than two delegates from this municipality is fair.”
Findlater was the only member of council to vote against the motion.