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

Courtney Preyser is a music teacher and librarian for several schools in Kitimat, and her passion for music and literacy shows in her work. (Clare Rayment)
In Our Valley: Courtney Preyser

Preyser grew up with a passion for music and literacy, which shows in her work and life everyday

<em>Black Press file photo</em>
Clare’s Corner: Giving thanks despite the negatives

Thanksgiving may have passed, but it’s never too late to count your blessings

<em>Black Press file photo</em>
Police look for vehicle after dangerous driving incident

The driver was speeding and failed to pull over for police

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Keep a lookout for monsters around Kitimat during the week leading up to Halloween. (Black Press file photo)
Lions and tigers and…monsters? Oh my!

Find monsters hiding around town during the week leading up to Halloween to be entered for a prize

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Most Read