Premier John Horgan speaks to Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler, Sept. 14, 2018. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Premier calls for ideas for protecting against B.C. floods, wildfires

John Horgan promotes voting reform to B.C. municipal leaders

Premier John Horgan used his speech to B.C. municipal leaders Friday to pitch a ‘yes’ vote in the coming referendum on electoral reform, while steering clear of his government’s controversial tax policies.

Horgan was warmly received by Union of B.C. Municipalities delegates in Whistler, promising to be “a partner, not a senior partner” as B.C. works on ways to protect communities from wildfires. The second straight summer of flooding and widespread fires means a new approach is needed, and he pleaded with local politicians to share their ideas as the government prepares its next budget.

Horgan described flying up and down the lower Fraser River during the flood threat this spring, with local opposition MLAs. He pledged to tackle the hugely expensive work needed to strengthen flood control and helping communities reduce their interface forest fire risk.

“This is not another review, we need your ideas,” Horgan said. “We need a call to action.”

RELATED: B.C. communities call for wildfire prevention help

RELATED: Infrastructure fund improved for B.C. communities

Horgan described his evolution on proportional representation, which he opposed in 2005 and now promotes as mail-in ballots are prepared for a November vote.

After four years in opposition to “a government that was dismissive of everything I brought forward,” he supported proportional representation in 2009 and is now promoting it in cooperation with the B.C. Green Party.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson described the premier’s speech as a rehash of well-known policies of the minority NDP government, and took issue with Horgan’s theme of a new, more co-operative approach to governing.

The referendum has been dealt with in a “high-handed” manner, with no maps and little time for people to consider the options, Wilkinson said.

An improved federal-provincial infrastructure fund for B.C. communities doesn’t make up for a huge tax increase faced by municipalities and businesses next year due to the NDP government’s payroll tax for health care, he said.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver reiterated his opposition to a $400-a-year rebate for renters, in spite of a potential 4.5 per cent rent increase allowed under provincial legislation. Handing out money to renters only allows landlords to raise rents when they might not otherwise, Weaver said.

a>
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Freedom 55 for Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna

What started as a small rural ski hill in 1963 has grown into a premier North American ski resort

Lake Country boy helps feed families in need

Jaymz, 10 and his mother Lisa Daniel are collecting donations for the

New, protective roof for burnt-out historic Kelowna building

The city spending $29,000 to protect the charred remains of the Fleming House over the winter

Sagmoen back in Vernon court this week

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will appear on all three Vernon matters this week

Crash temporarily closes Trans Canada Highway near Sicmaous

DriveBC reported the accident at 3 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10

Your morning news in 90: Dec. 10, 2018

Tune in for 90 seconds to get the top headlines for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Protesters take to Highway 1 over migration issues

Five people protested Canada’s plans to sign the United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration

Break-in at home of detained Chinese Huawei executive

Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver on America’s request

Natural gas rates will go up in B.C. on Jan. 1

Regions could pay up to $68 more

Top House Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump

It could be an “impeachable offense” if it’s proven that President Donald Trump directed illegal hush-money payments to women during the 2016 campaign.

Winter rolls into the Okanagan to stay

Environment Canada is calling for two-to-four centimetres of snow from Penticton to Salmon Arm

Macron addresses France amid protests; is it too late?

Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday.

Most Read