Council approves travel plans for next year

Value seen in representing Houston

Councillors and staffers are set to attend an extensive series of conferences next year following approval given by council at its last meeting.

Based on authorized attendance, the cost would be $51,942 for councillors and $14,099 for staffers to attend five conferences, three focussing on natural resources and two for local government purposes.

A further $8,000 has been set aside in the event the mayor or a council member needs to travel to meet with a cabinet minister regarding a municipal issue, said District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck.

Last year $74,040 was budgeted for council training and travel and, as of the end of October, the year to date spending total was $40,373.30.

The most costly conference would be the Sept. 21-25, 2020 Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in Victoria. If the mayor, all six councillors and two staffers attend, the cost would be $35,405.

The cost includes registration, convention sessions, accommodation, airfare and a per diem of $165.

Next up would be the North Central Local Government Association convention May 13-15, 2020 in Prince George. Should the mayor, all six councillors and one staffer attend, the cost would be $11,720.

If, as recommended, three councillors and one staffer attend the B.C. Natural Resource Forum in Prince George next Jan. 28-30, the cost would be $5,606.

In past years, this forum has been a focal point for natural gas liquefaction news and developments.

Prince George is also the location for the B.C. Council of Forest Industries annual convention next April 1-3.

Billed as the largest gathering of the forest sector in Western Canada, should three councillors and a staffer attend, as recommended, the cost would be $4,850.

Rounding out the list of approved conferences is next year’s Minerals North convention to be held in Quesnel April 29-May 1.

That cost, based on three councillors and one staffer attending, would be $4,230.

Two conferences did not make the list — the 2020 Association for Mineral Exploration’s Roundup in Vancouver next January and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference and trade show next June in Toronto.