Heat pumps and cannabis cash on the menu at UBCM

photo supplied Shannon Campbell, Tri-City Photography Club

Amid debates around public drug use and housing affordability at this week’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, Port Moody is set to put in a word for the pets.

The convention – which is intended to offer municipalities a chance to speak to senior levels of government as one voice – includes several motions from Port Moody and Coquitlam covering topics ranging from climate change to sales tax.

UBCM should ask the province to increase both the availability and affordability of pet-friendly housing, according to a motion advanced by Port Moody.


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“Year after year, a lack of affordable, pet-friendly housing remains the primary reason that animals are surrendered to the BC SPCA,” Port Moody Coun. Amy Lubik said earlier this year.

The motion notes that companion animals provide physical, emotional and mental benefits, “particularly for vulnerable British Columbians such as women, young people, households with lower incomes, renters and those experiencing homelessness.”

The motion asks the province to work with associations representing landlords, tenants, animal welfare, public health, mental health, seniors organizations and homelessness advocates to determine a workable strategy.

Sarah Herring, a government relations officer for the BC SPCA, thanked council for advocating for a change.

“The current housing, mental health and addictions crises make this issue even more important today than it was in 2020,” Herring told council earlier this year.

Spread out the tax

Coquitlam is set to put forward a resolution that could potentially send a share of the provincial sales tax to B.C. municipalities.

The motion requests a review and analysis of the: “Quebec model of sales tax transfer for potential implementation in British Columbia.”

Income tax is generally used to support programs related to poverty and equity, according to Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart. However, municipalities don’t get a share of income tax.

“We get those programs downloaded on us without the ability to fund them through those economic tools,” Stewart said when discussing the matter earlier this year.

Port Moody has also brought forward a motion requesting provincial cannabis tax revenue be shared with local governments.

The motion asks UBCM to lobby the province for a maximum of 50 percent of the money generated from the production and sale of cannabis.

The motion notes that: “such revenues are currently being shared between the provinces and local governments in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta, but not in British Columbia.”

Adjusting to the extreme

Given the increasingly dire effects of extreme weather, the provincial government should make it easier to protect residents who live in apartments and other multi-unit residential buildings, according to a motion from Port Moody.

The motion calls for incentives for heat pumps and “other climate resilience” to protect B.C.’s most vulnerable populations.

The province should: “ensure that all dwelling types are eligible for incentives and rebates for retrofit to ensure the health and safety of all British Columbians,” according to the motion.

On a similar topic, Port Moody also put forward a motion that would reduce the authority of strata councils in matters that concern heat pumps and other cooling systems.

Currently, strata councils can pass bylaws that restrict tenants from adding mechanical cooling to a strata unit.

“This restriction creates an unsafe interior environment in the case of heat domes and other high temperatures,” according to the motion.

The motion ultimately asks the province to change the Strata Property Act so strata tenants can add a heat pump or a cooling system without amending individual strata bylaws.

Sheltering in school

B.C. high schools need to be able to serve as a shelter in the event of an emergency, according to a motion from Port Moody.

The motion asks the province to boost funding for school districts to ensure schools have proper mechanical cooling and ventilation systems as well as other resiliency measures.

Port Moody also joined with Burnaby, New Westminster, and the City of North Vancouver to request senior levels of government “provide resources and policy direction” so local government can assess systemic equalities.

Coquitlam is also lobbying for new legislation that could allow a longer personal leave for elected officials “who must provide support to loved ones or are new parents,” according to the motion.

Currently, elected officials who miss more than 60 straight days or four consecutive meetings can be disqualified from office unless the absence is due to illness or injury.

Mayors and councillors from across B.C. are set to vote on 205 resolutions this week.

The week-long convention is set to end with a speech from Premier David Eby on Friday.


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