Friday, September 24, 2010

Whistle stops in Whistler

Summer may be over, but city and town council members across British Columbia have one last road trip to get in before fall gets fully underway.

The annual UBCM gathering is set for next week, like a summer camp for politicians and bureaucrats this falls sessions in Whistler promise much to keep councillors, Mayors, bureaucrats and provincial politicians busy, busy, busy.  Some 1500 plus, all of their efforts in the five days to come will be geared towards meeting the theme of their yearly meet and greet, that of Forging old Medal Standards.

The week long festival of political exchange, the 107th annual edition of these congregations, starts off Monday with a number of study sessions and tours available for participants, among some of the road trips to hop on a bus for are the Agricultural study Tour, and the 2010 Legacies Tour.

For those inclined to stay close to the Whistler Conference Centre there are a number of Pre conference workshops planned for Monday. Among the options is a gathering in making Home ownership more affordable, a session on the Tools, Resources and Funding available for Local Government and an opportunity to learn more about how to Pursue Excellence in Developing Agreements with First Nations.

The real work however gets underway on Tuesday, when participants knuckle down and get to work with the first of the day long programs, a smorgasbord of events which include forums, networking events, as well as opportunities to button hole provincial cabinet ministers and bureaucrats for conversations.

However it's not all work for convention delegates, there's plenty of opportunity to break away from the gruelling pace of government discussion, Wednesday for instance features a full program of get away prospects. A lively itinerary of events, from the Tour of Frivolous Fun, the Camera Photo Hike and a chance to Zoom along a zipline. Thursday offers up a Guided Valley Bike tour and a float down the Cheakamus River.

Back in the Convention Centre the official opening session starts off Tuesday at 8:30 with the opening speeches,  the singing of O Canada and some remarks from the host community.  Panel discussions, Question and Answer sessions, policy sessions and such take up the bulk of the day, with a pair of receptions planned for the evening with the Province and BC Hydro taking on the hosting duties for the two less formal wrap up sessions of the day.

Thursday brings more to the agenda with a number of clinics, some election details both for the Table Officers and for the Executive, and being politicians there will be no shortage of speeches to be made in the quest for those titles.

Beyond those housekeeping speeches Thursday also brings up the first of the big hitters of the week long sessions, with a keynote address from11:20 to Noon. Participants are left to their own devices for lunch at Noon, with free time until 2:30 when the Election of remaining Positions will take place, if those elections are required.

Policy workshops take up the rest of the afternoon, with the first of the night's social events to come at 6:30 when the UBCM hosts its reception. The Annual Banquet is set for 7:30 when the Presentation of Long Service Awards and Memberships takes place.

The final day of the convention kicks off at 7 am with the final of the continental breakfasts, yet more elections of Executive positions and the first of the day's major speeches.  The Federal Address grabs the 8-8:30 slot, while the Green Party leader won't have much time to relay her message, as she has been allocated the spot from 8:30 to 8:35, making way for a two hour session on Resolutions  and the installation of the President.

The final event on the agenda will be the annual address of the Premier, which will see Premier Campbell provided with one hour to deliver his state of the province address and offer up some insight into governing in our current times.

The 2010 UBCM wraps up at Noon, and participants begin the process of evacuating Whistler for their hometown destinations.

City of Prince Rupert participants don't plan on arriving empty handed, a number of city initiatives were outlined in the Northern View this week, issues that our elected officials and accompanying bureaucrats hope to bring to the table in Whistler. Among those items are such topics as the HST and local government issues, the sale of school properties, fishery issues and concerns over EI procedures for communities in the province.

Missing this year for participants however is the always popular annual Trade show and Exhibition, the one stop shopping session where municipal politicians and city managers can wander the aisles seeking the latest in equipment and products. Like a stage version of the Wish Book for politicians, the trade show brings to life the many items that could be on display in BC communities if only the civic budgets would allow it. Participants will have to hold onto the civic purchase orders for another year, the Trade show and Exhibition component is held every second year and returns in 2011 when the UBCM returns to Vancouver.

The airlift begins over the weekend as participants make the trek to Whistler, through the week to come a variety of media outlets will offer up the latest talking points and developments from the UBCM, below you can find a number of links to various segments of the convention week festivities, follow along to see what may be of interest to  our representatives as they wander the convention floor.

We'll keep our eyes on the latest dispatches and offer up a review of proceedings as the week moves along.  Starting Monday, you can find our permanent link to this years UBCM gathering on our right hand column, under the Prince Rupert items of note section.

UBCM website
UBCM 2010 Convention website
UBCM 2010 Pocket calendar
UBCM Convention brochure

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