Former Keremeos mayor defends convention attendance

Local politicians gain much from Union of BC Municipalties convention, in spite of high cost

To The Editor:

In response to Mr Johnson’s letter in the November 7 edition of the Review, I will address some of his inquires as related in my experiences, as Mayor, from 2002 to 2011.

The total cost for the UBCM convention is significant. Traveling to Vancouver, hotel rooms for at least four days, registration fees, and daily costs in Vancouver is not cheap.

I believe UBCM is essential for our elected representatives.  They have the opportunity to meet with cabinet ministers, and other senior provincial bureaucrats. Meeting with your municipal peers to discuss issues of mutual concerns to your communities is also invaluable.

The convention encompasses panel discussions and lecture which will benefit the attendee and his community.  In the years I was mayor, I had many valuable, casual and formal meetings with MLA’s, and senior members of the provincial government.

I would advise village tax-payers who are unhappy with the way elected officials’ dialogue with their constituents, to either run, or find suitable candidates to run in the village election in 2014. I sincerely hope that any potential candidates for next year are aware of the immense responsibility they will carry on behalf of the village

Thank you, Walter Despot, Keremeos