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NEWS RELEASE · 16th May 2011
UBCM and the BC Gov't
May 15-21, 2011 has been proclaimed Local Government Awareness Week, announced Minister of Community Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong and Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) president Barbara Steele.

For our take on explaining the various local governments - Click Here.

Local Government Awareness Week was initiated to generate awareness and further educate the public regarding the important role local elected officials play in making decisions on municipal councils, regional district boards and school boards. The theme for 2011 is "Be Heard", which reinforces the importance of voting, attending public forums and town hall meetings, and learning about candidates' platforms.

Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong is quoted as saying "Elected municipal, regional and school board representatives make vital decisions for British Columbians that have a direct impact on their everyday lives. This week provides an opportunity for B.C. citizens to learn more about how local governance works, and how they can participate in creating sustainable, family-friendly communities by engaging in local government processes."

UBCM president Barbara Steele is quoted as stating "Every day, our common experience is shaped by the communities in which we live. The roads we travel, the water we drink, the policing we rely on - these and many other services are provided by local government. This week provides an opportunity to tell the story of how local governments deliver these services in response to the needs of our residents."

Some details on local governments in BC:

* Local Government Awareness Week is the result of a partnership between UBCM, CivicInfo BC, Local Government Management Association, Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, Ministry of Education, British Columbia School Trustees Association and the Public Works Association of British Columbia.
* Local Government Awareness Week coincides with National Public Works Week - recognizing the importance of building and maintaining infrastructure and providing services that improve the quality of life in communities.
* There are 188 local governments in British Columbia.
* Since 2001, the Province has provided more than $2.7 billion to B.C.'s local governments over and above previously existing funding streams.
* Under the Community Charter - the most empowering local government statute in Canada - B.C. communities have broad corporate, service and regulatory powers, enabling them to address local issues with a high degree of autonomy.