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Vicious dogs are now among region’s lobbying priorities

Peace Region local governments preparing to make the trip to annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities meeting

After a Christmas Day 2015 dog attack left a 65-year-old man hospitalized, the City of Fort St. John wants the province to consider enacting a law making pet owners liable for injury or damage caused by their animal. 

It’s one of several resolutions from Peace Region local governments set to go before the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) this fall. 

Cities and towns around the province gather at the annual UBCM meeting each fall to discuss issues faced at the local level and lobby the province for solutions.

Topping the list from Peace Region municipalities are resolutions from Fort St. John and Hudson’s Hope. 

“As it is now, those who are impacted either physically or with property damage (by an animal) often have no recourse,” Mayor Lori Ackerman wrote in an email. “Our resolution tries to rectify that by having a provincial (law) that speaks to the civil liability of pet owners that is not animal or breed specific. This eliminates the argument of vicious breeds versus no vicious breeds.”

This stands in contrast to a resolution from the City of Pitt Meadows which calls on the province to bring about a dangerous dog registry.

Ackerman said regardless of what kind of animal causes the damage, it’s the owners who should be held responsible. 

Meanwhile, Hudson’s Hope is locked in a battle with the College of Pharmacists, which wants to close the town’s only tele-pharmacy because it doesn’t meet staffing requirements.

The town’s resolution asks the province to push the college to change their training standards to reflect the situation in small towns across the province. 

“It just doesn’t seem that there is any understanding of how difficult it is for a rural, small towns to facilitate the training that they’re requiring,” Mayor Gwen Johansson said.

The local tele-pharmacy, which fills prescriptions with the help of an on-call pharmacists in the Lower Mainland who checks the medications over the phone before they are sent out, has tried and failed to hire a licensed pharmacist. 

“It’d be helpful if they could recognize the unique situation of the small, rural pharmacy,” Johansson added. 

Other resolutions from Peace Region local governments: 

Tumbler Ridge: 

Fossil protection legislation

Resolution: The province does not currently have legislation protecting the paleontological resources and fossil record of the province. This lack of regulation has led to the unregulated export of these resources and records out of province. 

The District feels these records should be of importance. 

As a result, the District moves that the province enact legislation that both protects and preserves the paleontological resources and fossil record of the province and contains provisions for the establishment of authorized repositories in the province. 

Regulation of off-road vehicles

Resolution: The District of Tumbler Ridge wants the province to amend current off-road vehicle legislation (passed in the Off-Road Vehicle Act of 2014 with amendments made in 2015) to allow local governments the authority to regulate the operation of off-road vehicles and golf carts within their boundaries.

Dawson Creek:

Accessible Building Code

Resolution: Province's "Accessibility 2024" report promises to make B.C. Canada's most accessible province. 

Changes to the building code will be necessary to reach that goal.

The city therefore moves that the province update the BC Building Code to ensure that enhanced accessible and adaptive standards are entrenched in the code to reflect the increasing needs of a demographic that requires such standards. 

And that the province develop accessible community and housing guidelines that local governments can incorporate into their Official Community Plans.

Peace River Regional District: 

Water and Sewage disposal services in electoral areas

Resolution: Regional Districts are responsible for safe drinking water and sewage disposal in electoral areas but, it is difficult to obtain consent from residents in Electoral Areas for these services.

Access to clean drinking water and environmentally safe disposal options for sewage are considered essential services in municipalities who do not need consent to carry these services out.

The Local Government Act (LGA) allows Regional Districts to establish other important services, such as emergency planning and emergency communications, through participating area approval by written consent of the Electoral Area director.

Therefore, the Regional District wants the province to amend the LGA to provide the option to establish drinking water and sewer disposal services in Electoral Areas only in the same manner as those services listed under section 339 (2) of the LGA that don't require consent. 


User-friendly index for the Community Charter and Local Government Act

Resolution: That the province make it a priority to provide local governments with an effective and user-friendly index for the Community Charter and Local Government Act. 

Note: These summaries do not include the exact wording of the resolutions.The full 2016 UBCM resolutions package can be found here.

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