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EXCHANGE EXCHANGE is is aa quarterly quarterly magazine magazine published published by by the the Local Local Government Government Management Management Association Association (LGMA) (LGMA) of of British British Columbia. Columbia. It’s It’s about about sharing sharing information, information, exchanging exchanging ideas ideas on on best best practices, practices, enhancing enhancing professional professional development development and and building building networks. networks. Reach Reach us us at at


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Best Price or Best Value?


Sharing information and expertise helps build strong, sustainable communities. Young Anderson is proud to support professional development opportunities for municipalities and regional districts.



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Update In this Issue President’s Report Executive Director’s Report Case of Interest Members Page Our Town

Professional Development 2 3 4 5 22 25

Tips & Tactics: Procurement Q&As and Resources


Tips & Tactics: Trade Agreement Info for Local Governments


Elections BC Update


Programs & Events


5 Courts Clarify Public Hearing Disclosure Requirements

Exchange is the magazine for members of the Local Government Management Association of British Columbia. Exchange is distributed quarterly to over 900 members of the LGMA, as well as Mayors and Regional District Chairs.

This installment of Case of Interest discusses a BC Court of Appeal ruling that specifies what local governments are required to disclose during public hearings.

Best Price or Best Value? Local government procurement is far from simple. In this article, we talk to procurement experts to learn what local governments should consider when it comes to procurement and what resources are available to help.

Exchange is printed on Sappi Flo, an FSC® Certified 10% post-consumer recycled paper at Island Business Print Group.

LGMA Office: 7th Floor 620 View Street Victoria, BC V8W 1J6 Telephone: 250.383.7032 Fax: 250.383.4879 Email: Web: Contact the Editor: Email:

Cover Illustration: DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government


14 Trade Agreements: Obligations and Opportunities Trade agreements between provinces and countries can impact procurement decisions for local governments. Find out which agreements affect you and what to consider.


21 Lessons from New Zealand Members Mark Koch and Ryan Smith share their experience with the Overseas Manager Exchange Program between the LGMA and Society of Local Government Managers of New Zealand.


hen I started in local government, I was equally amazed and dismayed by the complex process involved when making a purchase or hiring a contractor. It seemed like it should be simple – just find what was needed and buy it, without all the hurdles and hassle. It didn’t take long for me to understand the risks of buying without clearly-defined steps to show that a fair and consistent process was used. Over time, I also learned a lot more about how applying extra effort up front to think through the logistics and deliverables of a project could improve outcomes for both the organization and the contractor – a win-win.


I learned this by working with skilled procurement managers in our organization. They were firm but patient, and always had a solid rationale for the steps we followed. As we worked through the various projects, I discovered that getting best value wasn’t always as straightforward as getting the best price. We struggled with situations where using “must” in the request for proposals led to non-compliance when it wasn’t necessary. We stumbled a bit when proposals for a design project came in at around $50,000 when our budget was $7,000. And we had some significant successes when we took the time to host proponent briefings and provide clear guidelines for a major technology project. Each project reaffirmed for me that purchasing in local government is far from simple – it has a complexity that is further exacerbated by continuous change and emerging demands in the market place. In this issue of Exchange, it quickly became evident that the challenges and the rewards stemming from consistent, fair and strategic advance planning for procurement are just as compelling today. Experts in procurement continue to develop new approaches that evolve into best practices, and sharing ideas and processes helps local governments improve the way they procure goods and services. They share a goal for using tax dollars effectively to gain the best value, and they apply expertise to define what “best value” means in terms of longterm benefits, not just short-term savings. In Best Price or Best Value?, existing and emerging tools like templates, online bid platforms and a qualification-based selection process are a few of the options available to help local governments get the best value for tax dollars, and in many cases, save time and effort while still meeting objectives.

It was also interesting to learn more about how trade agreements negotiated between provinces and countries still impact decisions and actions in procurement in local government. While the legal requirements negotiated in trade agreements build on standards and practices already in place in most local governments, it’s up to procurement professionals to stay informed about the thresholds and requirements embedded in trade agreements. In Trade Agreements: Obligations and Opportunities, some of the key trade agreements affecting local government are highlighted, as well as the new Bid Protest Mechanism to provide a streamlined dispute resolution option. As well, with new trade agreements being signed, the doors for trade are opening well beyond our borders to bring expanded opportunities for local businesses. My thanks go to the many contributors to this edition of Exchange. Your shared experiences, expertise and advice for local governments are essential for creating a resource that brings value to members. As always, as we look to 2016 and beyond, we appreciate receiving ideas from members for future content themes for Exchange. If you have someone you would like to see featured in the Spotlight, a community you would like to highlight in Our Town, or story ideas you think will bring value to your local government colleagues, please pass them along by contacting the LGMA office or by email to Therese Mickelson, ABC Editor Upcoming themes for Exchange: Winter 2016 Human Resources Report

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government



It is time to come to terms with the events of the past to overcome conflict and to establish a respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.


can’t believe another year has passed. While I really enjoyed my role as Acting President last year, I am looking forward to the upcoming year in my role as your President.

Our Annual General Meeting in Prince George was well received by the members attending. There was unanimous support for the updates to the Constitution and new bylaws, which are now on the LGMA’s website along with the 2014 Annual Report.

As leaders, we can learn from this experience and move forward. What kind of relationship do you see between your community and your Aboriginal neighbours? It is time to come to terms with the events of the past to overcome conflict and to establish a respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. So what can we do?

A portion of this year’s LGMA Conference was dedicated to improving relations with our Aboriginal neighbours. Part of the LGMA’s Strategic Plan challenges the Association to “Enhance current First Nations programming to strengthen engagement and collaboration within the local government system.” After listening and reading the material released in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report on June 2, as well as listening to the experiences of our First Nation members and speakers at the conference, I was deeply moved to try and make a difference and improve relationships with the First Nations people.

We can show the way in our communities to a process of reconciliation that can lead to a shared future and a new relationship. As local government professionals, we can contribute to better understanding between Aboriginal peoples and our citizens, and demonstrate relationships of respect, partnership and sharing the wealth of our communities. We can enact policies and guidelines in consultation with our Aboriginal neighbours that will lead to better relations. Change will take time, but if we can agree on what this relationship should look like, then we can start today to do what needs to be done to contribute to this objective.

I believe as leaders in our communities, we have a responsibility to find ways to make amends for this long, dark chapter in Canadian history. The report noted that seven generations or 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were separated from their parents and sent to residential schools. This was not done to educate them but to break their link to their culture and identity. Listening to the stories of what the children endured and how it now affects them in their adult lives and their relationships with their children is heart wrenching. It is estimated that over 6,000 children died in the care of the residential schools.

I invite you to consider what your role will be as local government leaders on this path to reconciliation. We are all in this together.

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government


Kelly Ridley President


Experts in public administration have been sounding the alarm about the steady but considerable shift in the tax burden to residential taxpayers.

n the hot, lazy days of summer there’s nothing better than rolling down the car windows, cueing up the playlist, and hitting the road. I did just that in early July, taking a summer road trip to meet with our members in a number of communities up and down Vancouver Island. It may not be on the top 10 list of alltime Canadian bucket-list road trips for some, but it was one of the highlights of the summer for me! I called it my A-Z summer tour, from Alert Bay to Zeballos, and I was warmly welcomed in every community I visited. It was another terrific learning experience for me, giving me a better understanding of the challenges faced by CAOs and their teams, and their significant successes as they support their communities.


During my tour of the Island and in conversations with LGMA members, I had lots of time to reflect on how essential local governments are to the social, economic and environmental health of this province, while at the same time, the difficult fiscal realities they face as they support these three critical agendas. A recent investigative report in the Globe and Mail highlighted that large companies across Canada are winning legal judgements to reduce the tax assessments on their properties, in some cases dramatically reducing revenue to local governments for essential services. Experts in public administration have been sounding the alarm about the steady but considerable shift in the tax burden to residential taxpayers. It’s been two years since UBCM issued its ground-breaking report Strong Fiscal Futures, offering thoughtful and well-researched options for improved financing of local government services and infrastructure renewal through more responsive fiscal and tax levers. And to what end? There has not been any serious discussion or engagement by the province on most of the recommendations. The economic agenda laid out by the provincial government continues to focus heavily on foreign direct investment as a key economic development strategy, particularly in B.C.’s resource industry. We are attracting foreign companies who see our business principles and tax system very differently. Indeed, my road trip was the week before the legislature convened to debate the merits of the tax relief for the Pacific LNG consortium, and I couldn’t help but think how the precedent set by this set of tax incentives will affect the long-range financial planning and fiscal management of local governments for the next two decades.

There are some interesting trends in the corporate social responsibility arena that may provide some food for thought for local governments. Businesses are increasingly acknowledging they have an important role to play in solving social problems and supporting local economies. And some are signing on to what is being termed the Shared Value Principle being led by Harvard University’s Michael Porter. The Shared Value Principle lays out policies and operating practices that can improve a company’s competitiveness while also enhancing economic and social conditions in their local communities. One critical platform in the Shared Value Principle is tax morality – or paying the appropriate amount of corporate tax to fund public services and invest in public infrastructure. Those who subscribe to this new business ethic say it is morally indefensible for businesses to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Perhaps we should be looking for ways to engage our elected officials and help UBCM kick-start a different conversation on the investments needed to build long-term economic growth across the province as we get ready for this year’s convention. It’s shaping up to be a busy fall with a number of LGMA events on the agenda, and I look forward to seeing many of you and hearing from you! Nancy Taylor Executive Director

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government


By Carrie Moffatt Lidstone & Company


Scope of Public Hearings Does Not Include Scrutiny of Business Operations n Community Assn. of New Yaletown v. Brenhill Developments Ltd. 2015 BCCA 227, the BC Court of Appeal clarified the scope of local government’s disclosure requirements for public hearings.


Brenhill Developments Ltd. (Brenhill) negotiated a land swap with the City of Vancouver where Brenhill would take over a Cityowned social housing site located across the street from Brenhill’s property and construct a new building containing condominium units, market rental units and a daycare. In exchange, Brenhill would construct a replacement for the social housing on its own property and give that site to the City.

The condominium building proposal required rezoning, while the new social housing development only required a development permit. Under the Vancouver Charter (and similarly, under s. 890 of the Local Government Act), a public hearing is required for rezoning applications but not for development permits. A group of residents in the area opposed to the developments formed the Community Association of New Yaletown (“CANY”) to challenge the City’s procedures, including the rezoning process. CANY’s submission was that the City’s public disclosure was inadequate and the process was artificially divided into two stages such that residents could not comment on the overall land exchange plan and that the City failed to disclose the details of the business deal so as to enable the public to comment on the rezoning at the hearing. Chief Justice Bauman for the Court of Appeal articulated the three main functions of local governments as: 1) legislative (i.e. making bylaws and resolutions); 2) business (managing municipal assets, purchase and sale); and 3) quasi-judicial (licencing and zoning powers). Often, these three functions overlap. When conducting business operations, such as a land exchange contract, local governments should take care to “not let its business interests overwhelm its duty to make good law.”

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government

However, the court noted that the public hearing is not the arena in which citizens can challenge local government’s business decisions. Residents do not possess a general right to review local government contracts or know all of the negotiating points in a business transaction between the local government and a developer. The public hearing is to allow the public to make representations and be heard strictly respecting matters in the proposed land use bylaw. In this case, the only bylaw or other instrument subject to a public hearing was a rezoning bylaw. The City provided the public with the same comprehensive policy report that was put forward to Council for its consideration. The land exchange contract had been properly considered and approved at an in-camera Council meeting as per the Vancouver Charter (a similar provision is provided at s. 90(1)(e) of the Community Charter). The court emphasized that local governments have statutory authority to enter into real estate transactions without public scrutiny and oversight, and when the City approved the contract, it was “doing its business.” As such, the City properly restricted the public hearing to the rezoning bylaw, and residents did not have a right to comment generally on the entire land exchange deal. The court also considered whether the City adequately disclosed the relevant documents to the public for consideration before the public hearing. The court agreed with the City that procedural fairness in a public hearing requires it to disclose the materials that Council will consider when deciding whether to enact the rezoning bylaw at issue. The City met that requirement by disclosing the policy report pertaining to the rezoning. It was not required to also disclose the land exchange contract, the minutes from the in-camera meeting, or the development permit application for the social housing property. Citizens did not need to see these documents to make informed comments on the rezoning, nor were they entitled to see these documents that were negotiated under the City’s business powers. Ultimately, recourse for residents who are unhappy with a council’s decision to enact a bylaw or pursue certain business options resides “at the ballot box.” The public hearing for zoning bylaws is not the forum in which citizens can expect to challenge or be heard on a local government’s general business dealings.


Best Price or Best Value?

By Therese Mickelson, ABC

Promoting Promoting Professional Professional Management Management && Leadership Excellence in Leadership Excellence in Local Local Government Government


On the surface, procurement appears simple – you shop around to get the best deal. But it only takes a quick glimpse below the surface to realize purchasing in local government is a lot more complex. ven individual consumers recognize that the best price doesn’t always equal the best value. When buying decisions involve millions of dollars, complexity escalates, and it takes skill, experience and clear guidelines to mitigate risks and deliver the best value for tax dollars.


Governments have long been expected to ensure procurement practices are fair, consistent, transparent and non-discriminatory. However, within those expectations, the pressures and options for how to apply these best practices have continued to evolve and with that comes new challenges and new opportunities for improvement. Trade agreements have opened up markets across the country and around the world (see Trade Agreements: Obligations and Opportunities on page 14). Taxpayers expect and deserve accountability for public spending, and the new Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG) audit reports are shining light on spending decisions and procurement practices. “There seems to be more focus on procurement lately. The AGLG audits have garnered attention about the importance of following appropriate procedures, policies, and the trade agreement requirements,” says Suzanne Rorick, Manager of Purchasing, City of Nelson. “At the same time, trying to meet everyone’s deadlines is a challenge, and in small municipalities like Nelson, the availability of resources may be limited, which can affect timelines.” Procurement managers and professional associations are applying their combined experience and expertise to develop new processes, tools and other resources to address challenges such as market pressures, non-compliance on bids, limited time and resources, and cumbersome internal procurement processes and systems. As well, improvements in life-cycle analysis are providing an enhanced understanding of how sustainability can be integrated into purchasing assessments.

“There seems to be more focus on procurement lately. The AGLG audits have garnered attention about the importance of following appropriate procedures, policies, and the trade agreement requirements.” “A bad process can lead to some pretty serious problems,” says Manley McLachlan, President of the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA). “We looked at our manual bid depository system and found that it had fallen out of favour, in part because about 25 per cent of bids were being found to be non-compliant. Our solution was to develop a bid form with mandatory fields and have it online.” The BCCA’s system, Bid Central, is an online tool for construction bids and tenders that provides bid forms that can be adapted to meet specific procurement requirements while applying a consistent template and mandatory fields for compliance requirements. Surety documents like bid bonds are also handled through the system, and there is an audit trail to show addenda and details on who has accessed the project, including who is likely submitting a bid and has downloaded documents. Reports are generated on a single spreadsheet for convenient evaluation. The bidders pay the fees for the system, not the organizations posting the bids, and BCCA does not see submissions – they go directly to the buyer. The latest iteration of this online tool, SCAN 247, provides e-procurement to manage bids, tenders, requests for proposals (RFP) and other procurement processes using submission form templates. Continued on page 8

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government


Best Price or Best Value? Continued from page 7

“We built the system to replicate the business rules, without bending them to fit the software,” adds McLachlan. “You can cast a broad net in a competitive marketplace using this tool, and it has a proven track record that will reduce your risk and frustration with non-compliant bids where you have to go to an owner and tell them the lowest bid was non-compliant for missing one administrative step.”

professional certifications of Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) and Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM). “But I say keep it in perspective. When you look at the number of bids you do annually, how many have ever been challenged by legal action? Be aware of the risks and manage them appropriately but don’t miss out on opportunities for better practices because of fear.”

Manley McLachlan

At the same time, some organizations are hesitant to leverage new tools or processes, due to factors such as concerns about potential risks or the time and effort involved in implementing changes. “We’ve become a lot more fearful, and it’s drilled down into organizations that our reputation could be at risk from a scandal and we have to protect ourselves or that we will be accused of spending more money than the market value so we’ll be seen as not doing a good job,” says Cris Munro, Principal with CM2 Ventures, who has over 25 years experience in the field of procurement and holds dual

Munro advises people to be open to trying different things. Find out what other organizations are doing and try new processes. Online bidding is an example of a new process that Munro believes should be embraced. “Online procurement technology has been proven in the market since at least 2008, and while there is a learning curve, the online processes can simplify your life so much more, reduce volume and save time,” adds Munro. In addition to online tools, there are templates available that provide standard documents for procurement. The Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC) is a national joint committee responsible for the development, production and review of standard Canadian construction contracts, forms and guides.

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government


The Master Municipal Construction Documents Association (MMCDA) supports a standard approach to construction contracts, which have responded to the needs of British Columbia local government infrastructure projects since 1989. As well, the BC Documents Committee (BCDC) has developed recommended procedures, stipulated price bid documents, pre-qualified guidelines and standard documents that can be used by local governments. Munro notes that these documents are widely used across B.C. public sectors, and the BCDC2 documents are available for free. (CCDC and MMCD documents require a fee.) “I am definitely on the industry standardized document bandwagon for many reasons,” says Munro. “The marketplace is familiar with them and does not have to use extra resources to review non-standard terms and conditions. The documents have been developed by consensus of owners, contractors and consultants, and once you understand one document, it’s easy to use the others.”

Cris Munro

Just as new tools offer opportunities for improved procurement practices, changes in approach and understanding of the impacts and considerations for buying decisions can influence how purchasing is managed. In some cases, these changes stem from other processes, such as long-term planning and capital asset management. “Most local governments will watch to see what the best practices are in procurement in general, but one thing I’ve seen is how we can integrate sustainability into how and what we buy in goods and services,” says Lorraine Kuzyk, Manager of Purchasing Services, District of Saanich. “As local Councils started to add sustainability factors into Official Community Plans, it began to trickle down into operations, and for me, it provided an important shift in focus to understand the life-cycle cost and apply it when assessing the best value for a purchase.” When assessing life-cycle cost, it is important to consider the planning, design, construction and acquisition, associated training, operations, maintenance, renewal and rehabilitation, depreciation and cost of finance, and replacement or disposal as well as key environmental and social benefits. This involves extra time to think through all of the issues affecting value and develop a strategic approach that reflects priorities as part of the procurement solution. Kuzyk is now working with her colleagues to think strategically and longer term for all of their projects – not just construction. “If we’re working with a department to hire a consultant, we ask them about what the next steps should be, and we build that future service into the process so that it’s already considered,” says Kuzyk. Continued on page 10

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government


Over 35 years of Experienced, Insightful & Practice Advice for BC Local Governments

Best Price or Best Value? Continued from page 9

“By mapping out what will happen next, we can determine if we want to set up the contract to allow us to keep the consultant for a longer term or the ability to use them for follow-up activities instead of just hiring them for the one task. It all gets back to the best value for the organization.” For others, assessing the life-cycle costs has resulted in a change in procurement process for the design stage of projects to apply a qualification-based selection (QBS) approach rather than the more traditional cost-based evaluation. “There are folks that for years hired the lowest bidder, which is fine when you know exactly how many pencils you need or how much steel you need, because you’re pricing an item. But with design services, every project is different and the scope is often not clear,” says Jennifer Enns, Manager, Engineering and Energy Services at the City of Calgary, which has been using QBS for more than 30 years. Enns notes that experienced design consultants add value, creativity and innovation that result in long-term savings on the overall project costs, including construction materials, operations and maintenance.

“If you spend money up front for a more qualified designer, you can save money down the line,” says Enns. “When you consider that design is only about three per cent of the overall project cost, why would you spend less on the design only to spend much more on the overall project because the design hasn’t provided for cost savings in construction and maintenance?” QBS is an RFP process that focuses on the qualifications of the proponents rather than the cost of the project. It is used primarily for hiring professional consultants such as architects, engineers and quantity surveyors who are registered professionals under provincial statutes and have their own governing body and accountability system. They have responsibilities within their field and they have embedded standards and professional requirements. Under the QBS process, a local government issues a request for qualifications – either broadly or with a prepared list – and selects a shortlist of three or four of the most qualified professionals based on established criteria.

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government


Qualification criteria may include experience with the project, years of professional experience, individual philosophy, design approach or any other criteria established by the local government. The shortlisted proponents are asked to provide a high level proposal for the project, which is used to select the most qualified proponent. The organization then meets with the selected proponent to develop the scope in more detail, including project specifications. Once the scope is determined, fees are discussed. Professional associations post fee guidelines for different types of projects to provide local governments with a sense of scope and related costs, but if the fees are considered too high, the local government would move to the next qualified proponent. Munro also recommends that the process include interviews with shortlisted proponents as well as a technical challenge to ensure that the consultant will work well with the internal team and has the technical expertise that aligns with the project priorities. “When you send out a prequalification request, you may receive proposals that sound wonderful, but when you hire them, you discover they don’t fit because they have a different philosophy,” says Munro. “As an example, the organization may be very team-oriented, but the individual consultant prefers to work with one designated contact person. This isn’t a good fit and while you may not get this information from a paper submission, you can discuss philosophies in an interview.” “With a technical challenge, engineers are asked to provide a mechanical drawing of a small part of the project, such as connections between pipes or a window ledge – nothing complicated,” adds Munro. “It’s just enough of a level of detail so your technical people can say if it conforms to the standard they want applied to the project.” The Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC) supports QBS as the best value proposition for local governments. “Our members get frustrated when selection of consulting engineers is based on price rather than qualifications as we have found that the municipality is not Keith Sashaw going to get what they want because when you rely on the lowest price, there is often a totally different understanding between the design firm and the owner in terms of scope and experience,” says Keith Sashaw, ACEC President and Chief Executive Officer. “If you select your consultant based on qualifications and then jointly define the scope and expectations, you’re more likely to get the design elements right, which results in fewer change requests, less confusion on the site and greater value that the engineer can bring to the project.”

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government


ACEC members also support the prequalification process as it helps prevent wasted time with proposals that involve hours to develop when they are not likely to get the work. The level of prequalification varies depending on the type of job. In some communities, the local government may put out a request for qualifications for different types of projects, such as waste water, civic buildings or other design work, and then develop a list of preferred, qualified design consultants to use on a rotating basis. In other cases, it’s a large, one-time project that involves a QBS process. Continued on page 12

Best Price or Best Value? Continued from page 11

“QBS allows us to identify the right planning and design early by allowing us to bring the right people for the right work and then directing the needs and objectives of the project,” says Enns. “These are creative professionals and you benefit from going with the most qualified person for the job. If you push people for the minimum price, they will use less experienced people and they will look at how to streamline the process to reduce costs on the design, which could cost you more in the long term.” Whether applying practices like QBS, leveraging new tools and resources, or establishing updated processes, the person leading the procurement process holds a lot of responsibility. Procurement professionals need to be informed about legal requirements, risk factors and emerging trade agreement impacts. They advise colleagues about procurement requirements and guide them through the planning process to ensure the organization can attract qualified proponents and gain the best value for purchased goods and services. Their actions can affect the reputation of the organization in the market, and their commitment to the principles of fairness,

“Procurement is the most fascinating job in the world and it’s a heck of a lot of fun because it’s never the same job twice.” Lorraine Kuzyk

transparency and non-discrimination will help to ensure that they help their organization achieve its goals for best value in procurement. “Procurement is the most fascinating job in the world and it’s a heck of a lot of fun because it’s never the same job twice,” says Kuzyk. “We want to get our operational people the best outcome, and following the rules is what helps us get that best outcome.” ❖

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government


tips & tactics Ask the Procurement Expert During the development of this edition of Exchange, a number of questions were raised about current procurement practices. The answers below are provided thanks to Cris Munro, Principal with CM2 Ventures, who has over 25 years experience in procurement and holds dual professional certifications of Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) and Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM). Q. What do you recommend for contractor evaluations? A. There are many templates on the market, from simple Excel sheets to complex databases that can be used, but templates are generally not the issue, resources are. The biggest issue with evaluation processes is they have to be managed consistently and fairly on an ongoing basis. The documentation must be standardized, easy to use and continually updated. The parties being evaluated need to be advised and provided with a copy of the evaluation and an opportunity to respond should be included. Only on this basis can they be used to qualify future vendors. Thought should be given to what assessment would be applied to those who have not undergone a previous evaluation, so they are not disadvantaged. I have found that incorporating a discussion meeting between the consultant, contractor and organization at the end of each project for a frank and “without prejudice” discussion on how the project evolved is more beneficial. As the meeting is informal, full discussions on expectations and events can take place. It does, however, need to be facilitated to get the full benefit.

Q. When it comes to local government procurement, what are your thoughts on including a budget in an RFP and what should you consider when making this decision? A. It depends on the each situation. I usually find it useful to include some indication of the amount the organization wants to spend. It does not have to be the budget amount but can be worded such as: “This opportunity may be of interested to contractors who have current bonding capacity in the $xxx,xxx to $xxx,xxx range” or “The contract for this opportunity is considered by the organization to be a “small” contract (less than $xxx,xxx)” or “Large contract” (greater than $xxx,xxx)” or “The organization expects any contract that may be awarded from this opportunity to be less than $xxx,xxx.” I feel it is important not to waste the time and effort of those firms who would not submit if they knew the relative value. This is more of a professional courtesy and/or respect issue. Q. How do you assess when to use “should” versus “must”? A. Always minimize the use of mandatory language. Ask the question: if they did not do this (mandatory), would we receive value in disqualifying them? In my workshop “Responding to RFP’s” I tell vendors/contractors to take the bid document and run it through an optical character recognition (OCR) scanner to highlight all of the mandatory verbs “must, shall, will, etc.”. Then review the document to ensure they understand their responsibilities in submitting and the organization’s responsibilities in their mandatory language.

Procurement Resources Q. What is the recommended threshold for asking for bonds? Procurement organizations and related resources: A. Bonds are recommended where the value of the work is greater • Supply Chain Management Association of Canada ( than $100,000. However, in saying that, depending on the market • National Institute of Government Purchasing ( and sophistication level of contractors/trades, I have required bonds • Institute for Supply Management in Canada where the value is greater than $50,000. It is always at the organization’s ( discretion at what level to ask for bonds. • National Education Consulting Inc. ( Q. What do you recommend for local governments when it comes to • Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement led by dealing with insurance? Tim Reeves ( A. The best resource I have found is Search through • Government Finance Officers Association ( closed bids for a two-year time frame to see other organizations’ • Auditor General for Local Government tool for Oversight of documents. There is no “guide” available for local government, but Capital Project Planning and Procurement stemming from there is for other public sectors through Risk Management BC. audit: ( For local governments, Training courses: I have found that depending on the complexity of the project, • CM2 Ventures ( programs on topics such as $2 - $5 million in Commercial General Liability Insurance should bid preparation, supply chain fundamentals and effectivness, be requested from contractors. Professional Errors and Omissions understanding construction documents and roles, effective Insurance should be project-value dependent, ranging from $250,000 contract management, public sector supply chain management, to $2 million. and understanding the capital project system. Q. When is it okay to waive or adjust the insurance amounts? Fee guidelines for professional associations: A. There is no “typical” insurance, or “typical” waive or adjust formula. • Architectural Institute of British Columbia ( It is critical to understand the project complexity to be able to make • Association of Consulting Engineering Companies ( this determination. I do not have a sample policy, but have found • Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveys ( resources on BC Bid that can provide some guidance.

Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government


TRADE AGREEMENTS Obligations & Opportunities By Therese Mickelson, ABC

ost of the time, “buy local” is the common promotional theme to support economic development and local businesses. But when it comes to procurement, some trade agreements include obligations of non-discrimination and transparency, meaning local governments must look beyond their borders to other provinces, and even overseas, when procuring goods and services. These agreements come with opportunities for suppliers and obligations that procurement professionals must follow, particularly for larger purchases that meet or exceed thresholds embedded in the agreements. Tied in with these obligations are dispute resolution processes, including a new Bid Protest Mechanism launched on July 1, 2015, which provides a simplified process for dispute resolution.


While it’s essential to understand the impacts and implications of trade agreements, the good news is that local governments don’t need to be

experts on every nuance. Instead, they just need to know where to go to reach the experts – the provincial Trade Policy Branch, located in the Ministry of International Trade. Trade Policy staff work with industry associations and individual businesses to identify barriers to market access and are directly involved in negotiating trade agreements to open new markets and create a level playing field when competing for business. For local government, these government officials are a great resource for information on how key trade agreements affect procurement and how to leverage these agreements to benefit business and trade in the community. A number of key trade agreements apply to local government, such as the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) signed by British Columbia (B.C.) and Alberta in 2009.

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In 2010, TILMA was expanded into the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) to include Saskatchewan and was fully implemented in 2013. There’s also the 1995 Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), a Canada-wide domestic trade agreement, which includes all of the provinces and territories except Nunavut. On the horizon, the Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will also affect local government procurement and significantly broaden the market reach for larger purchasing projects. CETA is currently going through final review and approval processes before it is ratified. The operating principle of TILMA, NWPTA and AIT is to ensure that Canadian suppliers are not discriminated against based on their geographic location. This means that government procurement must consider suppliers of goods and services from other provinces. The agreements do not permit preferential treatment of specific suppliers and were put in place to eliminate government rules and practices that had emerged over time that were hindering the free movement of goods, services, persons and investment. These barriers were increasing the cost of doing business, reducing productivity and making it more difficult for people to relocate for employment

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between provinces. Under TILMA and later NWPTA, B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan have created a more open, competitive economy where goods, services, workers and investments can move more freely between the three provinces. When ratified, CETA will extend the opportunities for trade and broader procurement markets to European countries. The agreements all apply consistent requirements for procurement to provide clear guidelines and ensure all governments hold to the same standards.

Janel Quiring

“These trade agreements reflect the best practices that procurement specialists were already using, such as looking for the best value in terms of price, quality and other important objectives,” said Janel Quiring, Acting Executive Director, Trade Initiatives, Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch of the Ministry of International Trade. “Procurement rules require openness and fairness for qualified suppliers and provide governments with a means to get the best value for taxpayers.” Continued on page 16

Trade Agreements: Obligations and Opportunities Continued from page 15

It’s important to note that the obligations under trade agreements only apply to procurement projects that are over the designated thresholds. For TILMA and the NWPTA, which have the lowest thresholds, the requirements for local governments are applied to procurements valued at $75,000 or greater for goods and services or above $200,000 for construction. For the AIT, the thresholds are $100,000 or greater for goods and services, and $250,000 or greater for construction. The primary difference between CETA and the internal trade agreements is that the contract thresholds being proposed are significantly higher under CETA. As an example, thresholds for goods and services are approximately $315,000 and construction thresholds are approximately $7.8 million. Procurement standards of openness, transparency and nondiscrimination form the foundation for procurement obligations outlined in the agreements. Open tendering requirements allow all eligible suppliers that meet the essential requirements and characteristics for a specific procurement to have an opportunity to submit a tender. Sole sourcing is only permitted under narrowly defined circumstances. Transparency includes posting all requirements on BC Bid, which is the province’s designated electronic tendering system and that all relevant documents are provided in a non-discriminatory manner. A key factor

A key factor in non-discrimination is that all qualified suppliers are treated equally – no preferential treatment for local suppliers. in non-discrimination is that all qualified suppliers are treated equally – no preferential treatment for local suppliers. The obligations related to non-discrimination can be a challenge when local governments are pressured to “buy local”, but Quiring notes that trade agreements help support the sometimes difficult response to local suppliers that they have to compete to win contracts. “We’ve heard from some local government administrators that it’s useful to have requirements outlined in the trade agreement because it provides them with information that they can point to which says that contracts must be transparent and openly tendered. In other words, no direct awards to local companies,” stated Quiring.

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For smaller contracts below thresholds and where there is justification to do so, Quiring added that there are situations where local governments can award projects locally if they so choose. Some of the other exceptions to procurement under the Agreements include procurement of health and social services, services provided by lawyers and notaries, purchases from philanthropic institutions, prison labour or persons with disabilities, purchases from a public body or non-profit organization, goods purchased for representational or promotional purposes, goods required to respond to an unforeseeable situation of urgency, and goods intended for resale to the public. “There are myths around procurement and the purpose of the rules, both in policy and through trade agreements, that suggest they take away the autonomy and governance from local decision makers, but that’s not why they are in place,” said Monica Gervais, Director of International Trade, Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch of the Ministry of International Trade. “These requirements are there to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent Monica Gervais well, people are treated fairly, and there is accountability in place. By ensuring accountability, staff in local governments are protected when a decision is made, because they can demonstrate it was done in a fair and transparent manner.” While the obligations help to ensure consistent and fair standards in procurement, the opportunities under these agreements include a more open market for local businesses in B.C. communities. Under TILMA and NWPTA, procurement projects over the thresholds must be posted on the province’s designated bid websites. In Alberta, public sector procurement notices for contracts over thresholds must be posted on the Alberta Purchasing Connection (APC), at In B.C., notices are posted on, and in Saskatchewan, bids are posted on As well, B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan have cooperated to post each other’s opportunities on their respective sites. “Suppliers in your community have an expanded opportunity to bid in other markets,” said Gervais. “Looking at the community as a whole, trade agreements provide opportunities for everybody. They support good use of tax dollars, provide government with clear standards and give local suppliers the opportunity to expand their business.” With legal requirements and defined processes in place, there is a corresponding need to have a dispute mechanism to address complaints. With the signing of the NWPTA, the three provinces involved were directed to develop a more effective dispute resolution process. The result is the new Bid Protest Mechanism that was launched on July 1, 2015. Continued on page 18

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Trade Agreements: Obligations and Opportunities Continued from page 17

“The new Bid Protest Mechanism meets the need for a simpler, more compressed process that is less administratively demanding and more accessible to people who choose to use it,” said Quiring. “At the same time, it minimizes the likelihood of frivolous claims as suppliers have to put up a $2,500 deposit to access the mechanism, and if it is found to be a vexatious claim, they may be charged with paying the local government’s legal costs.”

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The new Bid Protest Mechanism differs from the general dispute mechanism in that it involves one arbiter instead of three, allows for a written submission instead of oral, and the award the supplier may receive is a maximum of $100,000 (up to $50,000 to address the reasonable costs of developing a bid and up to $50,000 for legal costs related to the dispute). The general dispute mechanism, which does not apply to specific disputes, allows for awards of up to $5 million. Each province appoints five arbiters for a roster of 15 arbiters, and when suppliers submit a complaint, they choose five possible arbiters to hear their bid protest review. The defending local government selects one arbiter from the five chosen by the supplier to do the review. The arbiter’s report is binding and is based on the written material submitted. The final report includes the findings of fact, the decision on whether the procurement was consistent with obligations under TILMA and NWPTA, and the amount of any costs and/or recoupment awards that must be paid, as well as the time period to complete the payment. There may also be recommendations on how the procuring entity can bring itself into compliance. The report is made public unless the arbiter rules that there is some confidentiality involved. “The Bid Protest Mechanism puts stronger discipline behind the obligations in place for procurement practices, but if you’re acting in accordance with your obligations, you don’t have anything to worry about,” said Quiring. “At the same time, suppliers are held accountable for ensuring that they have a justified complaint as, if you’re a supplier, you have to invest time and money that will be lost if you lose the protest.” With the Bid Protest Mechanism now in place, the provinces have completed their key deliverables under TILMA and NWPTA. The result is Canada’s largest interprovincial free trade zone. The benefits for the three provinces, including local governments, include: reduced costs for businesses, governments, and consumers; streamlined regulations through mutually recognizing or otherwise reconciling unnecessary differences in standards and regulations; an enforceable dispute mechanism to ensure that each province lives up to its commitments; and enhanced competitiveness through the free flow of goods, services, investment, and workers. ❖

To register for these and future courses, contact Alison McNeil at and see:

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tips & tactics Information on Trade Agreements Affecting Local Governments The following online resources provide information and guides for trade agreements affecting local governments: • Overview of TILMA and specific questions and answers related to local government: • Overview of NWPTA and questions and answers related to local government: • NWPTA Procurement Guidelines: Guidelines_final%20for%20distibution.pdf • Bid Protest Mechanism overview:

• Advice and assistance on NWPTA from the provincial Trade Policy Branch: phone 250-952-0635, email: • Overview of CETA, including a Myth Buster guide that addresses key concerns about how CETA will affect trade and procurement: • Federal government CETA Technical document that includes information on CETA procurement coverage: agr-acc/ceta-aecg/understanding-comprendre/technical-technique. aspx?lang=eng#p4

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News from Elections BC Local government administrators are reminded to please advise Elections BC as soon as possible after becoming aware of local events and also provide Elections BC with the event details once the event is confirmed.

By Keith Archer, PhD Chief Electoral Officer, British Columbia The 2014 General Local Elections are, for some, a memory. However, we at Elections BC continue to provide service to the over 3,600 participants in the inaugural event run under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA).

Keith Archer

On behalf of Elections BC, I extend our appreciation to local government administrators and local elections officials who aided in the regulatory information distribution and education that resulted in remarkable compliance of the new Regulations. An impressive 99.6 per cent of participants’ disclosure statements were filed with Elections BC by the March 16, 2015 compliance deadline, and scanned images of statements are posted online in Elections BC’s Financial Reports and Political Contributions system. Our local elections campaign financing team continues to review the disclosure statements for compliance with LECFA and assist participants. For a number of jurisdictions, local by-elections and non-election assent voting followed closely on the heels of the November 2014 elections.

Elections BC strives to ensure public information is timely and accessible. The local elections campaign financing section of our website has been modified and updated to include by-election and assent voting specific pages that contain event definitions, rules for advertisers, listings of current events and names of participants. As required under LECFA, disqualification lists are now hosted on the website. Disclosure statement forms are available on the Elections BC website in an online fillable format and all guides can be downloaded in a convenient PDF format. Together, we set a new standard of elections administration excellence that will carry us through the 2018 General Local Elections. Congratulations. Please do not hesitate to access resources on our website at or by calling our local elections campaign financing team at 1-855-952-0280.

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Lessons from New Zealand By: Mark Koch, District of Lake Country and Ryan Smith, City of Kelowna As believers in lifelong learning and growth through applied professional experiences, we were very fortunate to be chosen to participate together in the 2014 joint Local Government Management Association of British Columbia (LGMA) and Society of Local Government Managers of New Zealand (SOLGM) Overseas Manager Exchange Program. We were exposed to a fantastic learning opportunity as we experienced local government in New Zealand firsthand, and we found that working together meant we could deconstruct and discuss experiences further amongst ourselves. While we spent most of our time at South Taranaki District Council, our travels took us to Stratford District Council, New Plymouth District Council, and Taranaki Regional Council on the North Island, and we visited the Timaru District Council and Waitaki District Council on the South Island. Our journey concluded with the SOLGM Annual Conference in Dunedin. We were fortunate to be paired with Fiona Greenhill, the Group Manager of Community Services at the South Taranaki District Council, in Hawera, which is on the west coast of the North Island and about a four-hour drive from the Auckland area. Fiona was a gracious host who shared a wealth of knowledge on local government issues in New Zealand. It’s difficult to distil such a wealth of learning, but for the sake of brevity, we have summarized what we learned into three key areas.

Division of Powers/Responsibility between District and Regional Councils New Zealand’s tiers of government differ somewhat from our equivalents in Canada. There are 16 regions, with 11 regions administered by Regional Councils (the top tier of local government) and five regions administered by Unitary Authorities (the second tier of local government), which are territorial authorities that perform the functions of Regional Councils.

Maori – Local Government Relations While local governments in B.C. may collaborate or consult with First Nations from time to time on a variety of issues, the protection and promotion of First Nations culture is generally not a primary operational objective. Comparatively, in New Zealand, many of the best Councils are finding unique ways to promote and include Maori representation in local government decision-making. Their efforts often go far beyond the practices of any local government in B.C.

Left, Mark Koch at Stratford District Council. Right, Ryan Smith with Fiona Greenwell, Group Manager, Community Services, South Taranaki District Council.

In addition to these experiences, we applied our training as Urban Planners to hot topics such as heritage preservation (in light of the devastating Christchurch earthquake), sprawling development (growth management), planning in the wake of a disaster, and development permitting processes. We also found it interesting to see how some Kiwi local governments are turning local assets and investments into tax reductions. Notably, in the South Taranaki oil and gas revenue model, District Councils invest taxation revenue from oil and gas industries, and returns on these investments are used to lower taxation. The reduction amount is listed annually on taxpayer statements. Our exchange culminated when we hosted Fiona at the 2015 LGMA annual conference in Prince George in June. It was a great experience to drive there from the Okanagan, showing Fiona the vastness of our province. The conference theme of Building Bridges, along with the recent release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, led to further discussion on Aboriginal relations in our respective countries. In summary, our team was welcomed graciously by our local government colleagues, and we are proud that the collegiality of our profession clearly spans the oceans. While a small country of 4.4 million, New Zealand is progressive in their Maori relations, and local government staff work hard to deliver a high level of professionalism amid similar challenges to actively engage a busy and otherwise distracted populace. Their urban centres are growing rapidly and rural areas face similar challenges to B.C. We will forever be thankful for our experiences, new friends, unique perspectives gained, and learning from our colleagues in New Zealand.

Practical advice, creative options and value for local government

Measuring Success and Engagement

Planning, Development & Environmental Law

Throughout many of our visits to Councils in New Zealand, we were struck by the common drive to measure and report on a wide variety of issues ranging from staff engagement to environmental protection.

Carvello Law Corporation

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Lui Carvello, MCIP Lawyer & Planner 203-1005 Broad Street Victoria, BC V8W 2A1 250-686-9918


Our Members in the Spotlight

Board of Examiners Five local government employees, recognized for their education and work experience in the local government field, are being awarded Certificates by the Board of Examiners: Certificate in Local Government Service Delivery: • Rebecca Blixrud, Executive Assistant, Thompson – Nicola Regional District • Deborah Liske, Office Administrator – Corporate Services, Township of Esquimalt • Jaime Schween, Executive Assistant to the CAO and Board of Directors, Fraser Valley Regional District Certificate in Local Government Administration: • Keri-Ann Austin, Director of Corporate Administration, District of Coldstream • Devon Cooper, Manager Police Support Services, City of Prince George Certificate in Local Government Statutory Administration: • Keri-Ann Austin, Director of Corporate Administration, District of Coldstream

Linda Adams Chief Administrative Officer, Islands Trust Committed and passionate planning professional at Islands Trust for more than 25 years. Compassionate leader, recognizing the delicate balance needed to serve all residents across multiple island communities equitably and fairly.

New LTSA Fee Listing Effective in Early November 2015 On July 9, 2015, the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA) previewed the new fee listing for its land title and survey services and the new fees will be in effect in early November 2015. The new regulated fee structure reduces the number of LTSA fee categories and better aligns the level of effort with the cost of the service. The result is a simplified customer fee listing that reflects the current services provided by the LTSA. For details on the new fees visit or contact the LTSA Customer Service Centre at 604-630-9630 or toll free at 1-877-577-LTSA (5872).

Tireless regional champion for land use conservation and ethical land use planning, especially sensitive to environmental challenges in delicate island ecosystems. Respected and inspiring mentor, helping to develop and retool MATI Community Planning and MATI Successful CAO. Dedicated volunteer with the Canadian Institute of Planners and Planning Institute of BC. Loves meetings so much that she has served as secretary on her Victoria condo’s strata council since she bought it a decade ago. Keen reader, walker, yogi and snorkeler. (And dancer, if the Annual Conference in Prince George was any indication). Avid genealogist – she has now traced her family in Sweden and England back to the 14th century. Beloved partner to Rob Kline, professional agrologist, who is looking forward to having more room in their shared calendar. Proud mother of a grown son and daughter who are both launched in entrepreneurial careers.

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MEMBERS PAGE SPECIAL RECOGNITION Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal for Excellence in Public Administration Awarded to Ron Poole On June 9, 2015, Ron Poole was awarded the prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal for Excellence in Public Administration in British Columbia, an honour presented annually by the Victoria and Vancouver Regional Groups of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC). The IPAC Victoria Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal recognizes the outstanding career achievement of a public sector practitioner who has shown distinctive leadership in public administration and whose career exhibits the highest standards of excellence, dedication and accomplishment. Long regarded as one of the most well-respected local government administrators in B.C., Ron is also recognized as a thoughtful and personable individual who is dedicated to building relationships and developing strong consensus on tough issues. Currently the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the District of Mission, Ron’s career as a local government official, educator, and mentor spans over 30 years. Moreover, he is a champion of educational initiatives within local government, spearheading the first Public Administration Certificate program at North West Community College for both First Nations and local government employees. Additionally, he has served on the Board of the Local Government Management Association (LGMA) from 2000 until 2006. In 2008, Ron received the LGMA President’s Award for his long-standing commitment to professional development, programming and training. To see an interview with Ron following his award, visit Exchange Magazine under Resources & Publications at

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Above, Ron Poole receives his award from Norma Glendinning, President of IPAC Victoria, and the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of BC, at the ceremony on June 9. Below: award ceremony attendees.

MEMBERS PAGE MEMBER MOVEMENT Michelle Gordon, Chief Administrative Officer, Village of Slocan (formerly Administrative Assistant, Village of Slocan) Jeff Long, Manager of Planning & Development Services, Regional District of Mt. Waddington (formerly Director of Corporate Services, District of Port Hardy)

Wes Renaud, Director of Finance, District of Clearwater (formerly Project Controller, SNC - Lavalin Inc.) Deborah Sargent, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Campbell River (formerly CO, Town of Smithers) Eric Sorenson, City Manager, City of Penticton (formerly Entrepreneur and Consultant)

Brad McRae, Chief Administrative Officer, District of Latzville (formerly Chief Administrative Officer, District of Lillooet)

Warren Waycheshen, Chief Administrative Officer, District of Kitimat (formerly Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Kitmat)

Brian Parschauer, Director of Finance, City of Courtenay (formerly Assistant Director of Finance, City of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan)

Melany de Weerdt, Chief Administrative Officer / Approving Officer, Village of Cache Creek (formerly Director of Finance, District of Taylor)

RETIREMENTS Tillie Manthey, Director of Finance/ Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, City of Courtenay

LGMA PROGRAMS & EVENTS October 4-9, 2015 MATI The Successful CAO (CAPU/LGMA) Lake Okanagan Resort, Kelowna BC October 14, 2015 Workshop on FOIPPA Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport, Richmond BC October 14-16, 2015 Clerks and Corporate Officers Forum Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport, Richmond BC

October 18-23, 2015 MATI School for Statutory Approving Officers South Thompson Inn, Kamloops BC November 4-6, 2015 Labour Negotiations Workshop Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport, Richmond BC November 18-20, 2015 Vancouver Island LGMA Annual Conference Nanaimo, BC February 24-26, 2016 CAO Forum Delta Grand Okanagan Resort and Conference Centre, Kelowna, BC April 6-8, 2016 Administrative Professionals Conference Hotel 540, Kamloops, BC

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MEMBERS PAGE OUR TOWN: VILLAGE OF QUEEN CHARLOTTE When you reach the edge of your world, ours begins… Situated between the narrow Skidegate Inlet and the peaks of the Queen Charlotte Mountain range, the Village of Queen Charlotte is an active, dynamic community with a lot to offer.

What’s special about living in Queen Charlotte? If you like freedom and adventure, if the natural world calls to you, Queen Charlotte offers a simple, full, laid-back lifestyle. Incorporated in 2005, the Village is the newest municipality on the islands of Haida Gwaii and has a population of 950. In this small community, you will find a hub of government services, interesting and unique retail shops, a small craft harbour, and a wide variety of accommodations, services and restaurants. Everywhere you go you are met with stunning views of Skidegate Inlet. Families love our scenic ocean sidewalk and our community park, which incorporates a youth centre, tot park, picnic shelter, tennis court, ball-hockey court, playing field, skateboard and BMX parks. And everyone enjoys the many new garden spaces that beautify the community. Go Haida Gwaii is the official destination-marketing website for the islands, providing visitors with inspiration and information. Chosen as one of National Geographic’s 20 Best Trips 2015, the serenity and cultural richness of Haida Gwaii “Islands of the People” make it a one-of-a kind, unforgettable destination. Fun Fact: From Queen Charlotte you can drive to Bonanza Beach, the most westerly sandy beach in Canada.

What are the people like? We’re a tight-knit community with a taste for adventure and the good life. Many of us like to fish, hunt, ride ATVs, hike, kayak and surf. No matter how we got here, our remote location brings us together and we solve problems in our own way. Tourists often remark on how welcome they are made to feel, from tips on the best places to hike to invitations for a memorable meal, that’s just the way we roll. You can also get to know our local artists and business owners and find unique experiences on the popular Love Haida Gwaii website. As a community, we rely heavily on our cadre of dedicated volunteers who run a variety of not-for-profit organizations that provide services like our toy-lending library and community club. Newly introduced, Volunteer Haida Gwaii is an online volunteer-matching pilot project that if successful, will be expanded to include all of Haida Gwaii and will act as a one-stop-shop for those interested in “volun-tourism” opportunities. The Gwaii Tel Society is working hard to bring higher speed Internet to the islands, increasing our ability to attract residents who want to work remotely, while living an island lifestyle.

What’s the latest buzz in Queen Charlotte? The small downtown core is bustling with activity around the construction of a new, $50-million hospital facility, which will be operational in 2016. Our new boat launch facility will be completed in 2016 and will offer a breakwater and floating dock. The harbour is also being modernized, with the ability to book advance moorage through and a focus on improving facilities and services. Recreational campers can enjoy the newly updated Haydn Turner Park Municipal Campsite located on a beautiful beach. The facility has six large RV/ tent sites and two tent sites on the beach.

Give me one more reason why “I just have to go” to Queen Charlotte? Queen Charlotte and the nearby villages of Skidegate and Sandspit are the gateway to the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Haida Heritage Site, and National Marine Conservation Area. SGang Gwaay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the last authentic examples of a west coast First Nations village. While this young municipality is going through the usual challenges of adolescence, the history and vibrancy of the community make it a special place to visit or settle down. Keep your eyes on our islands – we’ve got room to grow! – Lori Wiedeman, Chief Administrative Officer, Village of Queen Charlotte

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