Laurey-Anne Roodenburg isn’t sure what exactly the next year will look like, but she knows she’ll be busy.
The Quesnel city councillor was acclaimed as the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) president during their annual convention on Sept. 17. Roodenburg had served as UBCM’s first vice president in 2019/2020.
“I’m the voice of UBCM,” Roodenburg said, describing her role as president. “We look at what kind of policies have been developed. We were basically given our marching orders around local government financing — that’s a big one.”
Around 20 representatives sit on UBCM’s board, made up of local government representatives from across the province. The union is looking at what is driving up costs for local government, and is working closely with the provincial government to try and keep those costs down.
A report from UBCM noted accessible housing, community safety and climate change are the three main factors driving local costs up. Premier John Horgan attended and spoke at the convention where Roodenburg was acclaimed.
“We had a committee that worked on (the report) for almost a year and a half, and it was ratified this week,” Roodenburg said. “It’s a policy paper, meaning every time we talk to government, these are the key focused areas we’ll be working on.”
Roodenburg said COVID-19 has hit local governments in a way they’ve never been hit before.
“I thought I saw the light at the end of the tunnel this summer, and then this fourth wave has really kind of hit us all hard,” she said.
“One of the things we talked about with other members (at the convention) was the fact we’re so goal oriented. We’re so used to setting a goal, you do whatever it takes to get to that goal, you attain the goal and you move on.”
Roodenburg added shifting their thinking to pandemic survival hasn’t been easy for governments.
“What has happened during the pandemic is the goalposts keep changing,” she said.
The UBCM hosts four meetings per year, and Roodenburg hopes to visit other areas throughout the province during her term.
“You bring your own perspective, but it’s about the entire province,” Roodenburg said. “It’s about how to make everybody successful, and make communities thrive.”
Roodenburg also chaired the North Cariboo Joint Regional Committee meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21.
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