Fossil protections, school bus funding on agenda at NCLGA meeting

The NCLGA is the advocacy body for all local government officials in north central British Columbia.

Local governments from across the north and central interior of British Columbia will converge on Dawson Creek this week for the annual meeting of the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA). 

The NCLGA is the advocacy body for all local government officials in north central British Columbia. From 100 Mile House to the Yukon border, and from Haida Gwaii to Alberta, the association represents over 240 elected officials in over 40 local governments.

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The need for fossil protections, which will be debated in a resolution put forward by the District of Tumbler Ridge, is an issue that came to the fore last month when an absent minded hiker set a campfire on top of a dinosaur trackway that is part of the town's Global Geopark.

Although provincial legislation likely won’t stop vanadalism from happening, the incident highlighted the fact that B.C. is the only province in Canada without any laws protecting paleontological resources and fossil records. 

“Putting a fire on something like that is just incomprehensible stupidity,” Rich McCrea, curator of the Peace Region Paleontology Research Centre told the Dawson Creek Mirror.  "If the province enacts legislation, it'll give protection to all sites. This is a deficit that has to be addressed on a provincial scale because it's not just these sites (in Tumbler Ridge) — it's any number of sites, even ones we don't know about yet that would be protected."

In another proposed resolution, the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) highlights school bus funding issues in both the north and south Peace.

The regional district is proposing that the NCLGA and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities call on the Ministry of Education to consider the distance students in rural and remote areas travel when handing out funding to school district’s for busing. 

Under a formula introduced in 2012, the ministry considers population density instead of distance travelled when deciding funding amounts.

Under that model, the PRRD says school districts now receive less funding overall for busing because the same amount is given per student whether they live within 10 kilometres or 100 kilometres from the city. 

“(This) has had a significant impact on the ability of many rural school districts to provide busing services to rural families in a cost effective manner,” the regional district said in a Feb. 25 briefing note. 

Adopting a new formula that takes into account where a student lives in relation to the school they attend would make more sense, the PRRD says. 

"For example, the public transit system in the lower mainland is based on fare zones and recognizes that the further out a person travels, costs to maintain and operate the transit system are greater and therefore the fare charged is higher," the PRRD said. 

Other resolutions of note

  • The City of Quesnel would like to see the province move the B.C. Family Day holiday from the second Monday to the third Monday in February, so that it is in line with the other Canadian provinces. 
  • The District of Tumbler Ridge and the PRRD want the province to amend off-road vehicle legislation to allow municipal governments to regulate the operation of off-road vehicles and golf carts within local government boundaries, similar to the existing permitted operations for snowmobiles. 
  • The City of Quesnel wants the NCLGA to urge the province to accelerate the repainting of highway markings with improved, durable and reflective paint.
  • The Regional District of Fraser Fort George wants the NCLGA to push the provincial government to consider discontinuing daylight savings time throughout the province. 
  • The City of Williams Lake wants the NCLGA to call on the provincial and federal governments to endorse and support GPS tracking of prolific and repeat offenders who are considered risks to their communities. 

dcreporter@dcdn.ca

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