Counsellor Siebenga’s experience at UBCM

Counsellor Siebenga’s experience at UBCM

Promoting Houston and bringing forward concerns in education and forestry

At the Sept. 25 to Sept. 29, 2017 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention, counsellor John Siebenga of the District of Houston, accounts promoting the community in a way that makes the convention a worthwhile exercise for the entire town.

“The resolutions that have been brought forward by different municipalities is the main thrust of these UBCM conventions,” said counsellor Siebenga.

Counsellor Siebenga explained that much of the convention is spent voting on resolutions presented by municipalities, which are are then taken to lobby in the provincial and federal governments and some corporations.

“For example, the city of Quesnel brought forward a resolution to lobby the provincial government to change Family Day from the second Monday in February to the third Monday, which passed quite readily,” said counsellor Siebenga. “That sounds pretty innocuous enough, but North Saanich presented a resolution that would lobby the provincial government to place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.”

Hydraulic fracturing is a process where hot steam in put into the ground to bring out oil and gas closer to the surface. Siebenga said that this resolution did not pass by a very slim majority.

District of Houston counsellors stated their case to the Ministry of Advanced Education asking what is going to be done about the Northwest Community College closure in Houston.

To the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Operations, counsellors of the District of Houston were able to voice their displeasure that Dungate Community Forest had not received a larger allotment of timber to harvest this year.

“Houston was denied 10,000 cubic meters of timber, whereas neighbouring communities received 35,000 cubic meters,” said Siebenga.

“We’ve stated our case and put the needs and wants of Houston on the provincial government laps,” he said. “We hope that they look at it and treat it with respect.”

Counsellor Siebenga explained that months before the UBCM begins a notice is sent by the province and different provincial ministries to arrange meetings.

“This year was considerably different as we have a brand new government that had only been in place for seven or eight weeks. We were only able to meet with three ministries this year, ” said counsellor Siebenga.

This five day convention consists of over 12 hours days full keynote speakers, tours, and a trade show filled with over 200 different companies advertising their businesses.

“There are also forums and workshops that counsellors can take,” said counsellor Siebenga. “From recent marijuana legislation to what to do when social media becomes a soap box for abuse of council and senior staff. I have gone in the agricultural tour two years running. As I look at Houston, I am always trying to think of different ways that we could diversity our economy.”

Counsellor Siebenga says that farming is one of those ways.

“I toured the Cranberry Research Station this year, which really peaked my interest since bush cranberries grow wild around here,” he said.

He asked the tour guide about growing cranberries in a northern climate.

“She said that if we have the right kind of soil and the cranberries get a good layer of snow in the winter, there should be no reason why they could not grow up here,” said counsellor Siebenga.

He went on to say he promoted Houston with every chance he got, giving away pins and offering a very easy solution to the housing shortage and affordability of housing issue in the lower mainland and in Victoria.

“Move to Houston. We have lots of cheap, affordable housing,” he said.

Just Posted

Jill Mackenzie carefully replaces books on the shelves at the Houston Public Library. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
District approves annual library grant

Craft kits featured for summer reading club

The tradition of Houston Christian School grads giving Bibles to incoming kindergarten students will take place this year, but outdoors and in a modified fashion. (File photo)
Houston Christian School grad day is June 24

Grads themselves have set tone for the day, says teacher

Scott Richmond will be starting as the new vice principal for HSS and TSE. (Submitted/Houston Today)
Houston gets a new vice principal

Scott Richmond takes over from Dwayne Anderson who moved to Smithers

A Pacific Salmon Foundation grant of $3,000 is going towards the tree plantations. (Cindy Verbeek photo/Houston Today)
550 trees planted in Houston through A Rocha

Houston Christian School students and volunteers help with the tree planting

Currently the Houston station has 16 paramedics, two ambulances and one community paramedic vehicle. (File photo)
Retirement of longtime paramedics worries Houston community

“No loss of service,” assures BC Emergency Health Services

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read