Sicamous mayor says cost of conventions worth outcomes

Lobbying efforts by district paying off for community.

Sicamous Mayor Darrell Trouton says there’s much more to lose than gain by not sending four delegates to an upcoming municipal government convention in Niagara Falls.

The mayor, two councillors and the district’s chief administrative officer will be attending this year’s Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) convention in Ontario, May 3 to June 2. Though the district’s 2014 budget hasn’t been approved, $10,431 has been set aside to cover the cost of attendance. As per the district’s council remuneration bylaw, councillors also receive a daily $120 daily per diem and can claim food expenses up to $60 a day.

FCM is one of three major annual local government conventions attended by council. There’s also the Union of B.C. Municipalities and the Southern Interior Local Government Association conventions, for which the district has earmarked $21,889 and $3,723 respectively.

Trouton says these events are something the district’s mayor, council and staff attend every year, and that they represent an opportunity to raise local issues or concerns with higher levels of government, as well as present resolutions to garner the support of other local governments and support them in turn.

“It’s our only chance as local government to get out and see what the other municipalities are doing, meet the different people that are dealing with the same problems that we’re dealing with,” said Trouton, emphasizing these events are not a holiday and can, in fact, be very draining.

“Maybe it is a holiday to some people,” said Trouton. “But I feel that when I’m out there representing Sicamous, I’m doing the best I can to get all I can for them.”

Asked why the district doesn’t just send one or two representatives instead of four, Trouton explained councillors bring back different points of view on policies and procedures to discuss and learn from each other. He also noted how the show of numbers speaks volumes when you’re wanting other communities to support your motions and they’re wanting yours.

Trouton notes how as of late, Sicamous council’s presence at these conventions has helped the district reap rewards unheard of by other communities the same size.

“How has it been put – Its kind of like we’re playing in a league above us… We’ve been lobbying and getting results that no small communities would typically get,” said Trouton, using as an example B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s speech at last year’s UBCM, in which she mentioned Sicamous and her commitment to helping the community with a new water treatment facility. “You’ve never… heard so much talk about one community, let alone a small community like Sicamous. So these exposures pay off when you’re out there lobbying, asking the right questions, supporting and educating yourself to the systems. So, it’s really important.”