Parksville could get a new ambulance station and the province may ban genetically engineered food, if plans from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Vancouver last week go through.
Mayor Chris Burger said the two province-wide initiatives from the local government lobbying group that stuck with him were the proposal to extend municipal elections — currently every three years — to four years and possibly align them with provincial elections, and a narrow but clear vote to recommend that B.C. becomes a genetically engineered-free zone.
With all of Parksville council attending the conference except for Al Greir, who’s on vacation, Burger said there was a lot of support, he guessed 60 per cent, for the voting initiative, which proponents hope would boost voter turnout and save a lot of money and effort.
“There are some concerns, which I share, that we’re asking for a long term commitment from essentially glorified volunteers,” Burger said, adding there are also questions about local issues being lost in the shuffle.
The local leaders also took the opportunity to meet with provincial government officials on a number of issues including the Ministry of Forests on the rabbit problem in town — which they will get a staff report on but will be left to deal with locally.
They met with the Ministry of Transportation about the Island Corridor Foundation, on which there will be more coming about ongoing freight traffic and future plans for the railway.
Most importantly, Burger said, they met with the B.C. Ambulance Service about the future of the city’s ambulance station which was originally going to move into the new health centre, but now may move into a stand alone building.