Be it resolved that… In an effort to improve accessibility standards, the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) votes to endorse a resolution calling for updates to the BC building code.
Local government often comes in a distant third when people think of how governments of all levels matter in our daily lives. This is certainly true when it comes to voting patterns, with much lower turnouts for municipal elections. Yet, local governments have a direct impact on our daily lives and are often part of the grassroots movement for change in society.
The North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) met in Dawson Creek in early May for their AGM. Every year the delegates vote on resolutions to bring forward to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), where representatives from all BC municipalities vote on each resolution at their annual convention.
This year the NCLGA delegates voted to endorse a resolution calling for the province to update the BC Building Code to improve standards around accessibility. This is the full wording of the resolution:
WHEREAS the goal of Province of BC’s report “Accessibility 2024” is to make BC the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities by 2024;
WHEREAS changes to the Provincial Building Code will be necessary to reach the goal of the most accessible province in Canada:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM requests that the Province of BC update the Building Code to ensure that enhanced accessible and adaptive standards are entrenched in the BC Building Code to reflect the increasing needs of a demographic that requires such standards;
AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM work with the Province to develop accessible community and visitable housing guidelines that local governments can incorporate into their Official Community Plans.
There are no guarantees that UBCM delegates will also endorse the resolution, although they have supported related resolutions in the past. If the delegates approve the call for enhancements to the building code, the resolution would then be taken to the province for a response. While the province is not required to follow through on resolutions recommended by UBCM, this show of support by NCLGA does indicate a growing public interest in better accessibility for all citizens and indicates to all levels of government that people want to see change.
What can individuals do to help ensure change happens in your community? The simple answer is to do something. When people do nothing, thinking that nothing will make any difference, there is no impetus for change. The more individuals do something, the more governments are reminded that these issues matter. Here are a few ideas:
- Talk to or write letters to your local council and mayor. Contact information can be found on each city or municipality web page.
- Talk to or write letters to your MLA. Find contact information here.
- Find out if your community has an advisory committee on accessibility by calling your local City Hall. Connect with committee members to see if you can work together on this.
- Use social media to see if others in your area are also interested and how you can work together.
The 2016 UBCM convention happens September 26-30 in Victoria.