Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A city council that says no to junkets, no to conferences?

Things seem to be changing in one corner of British Columbia when it comes to the never ending political cycle of conferences and trips abroad.

Prince George Mayor Dan Rogers has led the charge on two initiatives that will see that city return money to the province destined for a cultural exchange with China and bow out of hosting duties for an international conference.

Originally the plan was for Prince George to twin with Jiangmen, China, the province had provided the city with 50 thousand dollars in money to facilitate the exchange, but Rogers outlining the plan as not a priority at this time had some concerns over long term funding of the project and decided to skip the idea completely.

He also has cancelled the World Winter Cities Association of Mayors Conference, an initiative that the previous council had chased after and landed, however, the rising cost of the project that was to take place next year has now clocked in at 200 thousand dollars, a tab that was apparently too rich for the current council, so it too has been taken off the to do list.

While some suggest it's a short sighted bit of political theatre, judging by the commentaries made to the Opinion 250 site more than a few are in lock step with their new Mayor.

It would seem that at the moment the Mayor and his council for the most part are not wishing to add on more debt to the city's load than they already have, even if it means they don't get to travel or play genial host.
To be fair, the Mayor hasn't said no to all possible opportunities, but in tighter financial times he appears ready to pick and choose those that might have the best possible outcome for his city and its finances.

It will be interesting to see if other British Columbia municipalities catch the scale back fever that seems to have caught on in Prince George these days.

No Twin For P.G.
Council Cans World Winter Cities Mayors Conference

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