After eight years on the executive of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, Susie Gimse of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District was elected as board president last week. She will also continue to serve as the Area C director for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.
According to Gimse, the position is already familiar territory.
“The decision to run for the president’s position really occurred several years back when I stepped up into a table officer position, primarily with the encouragement of other elected officials from across the province,” she said. “I have been with the executive for many years now, and have a solid understanding of how the UBCM works and what the issues are.
Gimse says it will probably take a little more time each week to serve as UBCM president, but has already set the time aside.
“I’ve heard some criticism regarding my association with the UBCM in the past and concerns that it would take away from my SLRD responsibilities, but I’ve always managed to do them both. I always point out that I don’t have a day job, or a night job for that matter; my kids are grown, and I’ve chosen to commit 100 per cent of my time to local government, which includes Electoral Area C in the SLRD and my involvement with the UBCM.”
As president, Gimse says her role is to see through the hundreds of resolutions adopted by the UBCM. Last year UBCM members voted on 260 resolutions, and the list of resolutions from the most recent UBCM conference covers 22 pages with 217 separate resolutions and the endorsement of four policy papers.
Many of those resolutions are of special interest to her constituents, she says, as well as to the rest of the province.
One of those issues is the Climate Action Charter, which has been adopted by a majority of municipalities and regional districts in the province. The SLRD has not voted to sign onto the charter, says Gimse, but will likely sign on after meeting with local governments to decide on a regional approach.
Another issue of special interest is the creation of a Community Charter for regional districts that would be similar to the Local Government Act adopted by municipal governments.
“The province committed to phase one of the Act to deal with municipalities, and once that was concluded the provincial government had indicated that they were prepared to move into phase two with regional districts,” said Gimse. “It was quite an implementation to form a community charter, and the province asked us to step back because of the resources required. Now enough time has passed, phase one has been fully implemented, and it’s time to start working on phase two.”