Vanderhoof councillor Brian Frenkel talks with outgoing Union of B.C. Municipalities president Maja Tait at the group’s first virtual conference, broadcast from Victoria, Sept. 22, 2020. (UBCM)

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

After guiding the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention through hundreds of debates and votes by a glitch-prone province-wide video conference, Vanderhoof councillor Brian Frenkel took on the leadership of the group for what promises to be a difficult year for local councils.

Frenkel succeeded Sooke Mayor Maja Tait as UBCM president Thursday (Sept. 24), with encouraging words for delegates after a convention disrupted by a sudden provincial election call on the event’s first day. The convention had already gone through a jump to online delivery due to COVID-19, and then the election disrupted its key function, hundreds of meetings with cabinet ministers who had to campaign for re-election instead.

Meetings with ministers were set up the previous week as part of the online arrangements for the convention.

“I have to tell you, when we started talking about a virtual convention back in May, I was like, who’s really going to sign up?” Frenkel said from an almost empty Victoria Conference Centre. “But I’ve got an answer for that today. We had over 1,000 delegates and local government officials sign up for our convention.”

Frenkel listed highlights of the first virtual convention, including provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s disclosure that she has dealt with harassment and even death threats while imposing orders and restrictions that have kept the coronavirus pandemic under control in B.C. He passed on a quote from author Margaret Atwood, the convention keynote speaker who had this advice for delegates: “Local government, you’d better get out your casseroles.”

RELATED: Dr. Bonnie Henry says she has had abuse, death threats

RELATED: B.C. Green leader says NDP has abandoned environment

Frenkel stressed the non-partisan role of the UBCM, which has increased its importance in recent years, administering provincial programs.

“As we fight our way through COVID-19 and any other issue that might arise in the future, I am very confident in UBCM’s relationship with the provincial government,” Frenkel said. “In just over a month, we will know which party will form government, and who our next premier will be. Regardless of which party or which leader, the executive of UBCM will reach out to all parties and all MLAs to communicate the shared priorities of our membership.”

He congratulated Tait on serving through a pandemic that has severely affected communities and businesses, while handling her community’s needs and those of a young child as well.

“I need to really thank the District of Vanderhoof, mayor and council and staff there, because without you still holding up the fort at home, I wouldn’t be able to do this,” he said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsUBCM

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Osoyoos Fire Department)
Osoyoos Fire Department knock down car fire near house

Blaze was ‘really close’ to becoming a structure fire

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Family devastated as search for missing Manning Park hiker suspended

‘It was an extremely difficult meeting with the parents when we had to tell them.’

Advance voting is already underway in the 42nd general election in British Columbia. Election day is Oct. 24.(Black Press files photo)
QUIZ: Are you ready for the B.C. election?

Take this short test and see how much you know about elections and voting

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. Facebook photo.
‘Please pray for our son,’ says mother of missing hiker

Searchers continue efforts to find 25-year-old Vancouver man in Manning Park

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vernon Fire Rescue Services and Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP were called to a report of an electrical fire at the emergency response centre operated by Turning Points Collaborative Society on 37th Street Sunday, Oct. 18, just before 5:30 p.m. The fire displaced shelter residents who have been set up with services at the Vernon Recreation Complex. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon shelter residents find refuge in hotels, motels, recreation complex after fire

Electrical fire at Turning Points Collaborative Society’s emergency response centre on 37th Street

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna man charged after allegedly stealing senior’s car

Elderly woman’s car was stolen while she was shopping

Salmon Arm RCMP say residents have been receiving calls from fraudster claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP warn of Publishers Clearing House telephone scam

Police say scammer requests fee to claim sweepstakes prizes

The Summerland Steam will play their first exhibition game of the season on Friday, Oct. 23. Unlike previous years, there will be no spectators allowed in the stands this year in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Brennan Phillips - Black Press)
Junior B hockey teams to play in empty arenas

Summerland Steam and other teams affected by decision to close facilities to fans

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels more Okanagan concerts

The Contenders and Colin James postponed until 2021

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Most Read