By ROY WOOD
Of the two Osoyoos councillors who went to a four-day conference in Halifax last week, one is not running for re-election in the fall and the other hasn’t decided if she’ll try to retain her seat.
Mike Campol said late last year that he will not run in the October 20 election and Carol Youngberg said in an interview today, “I have not made up my mind. … I have until September, so we’ll see how that goes.”
It is quite possible, then, that any benefit to the town from sending the two council members across the country will have to be realized in just over four months.
The bill for the trip will likely be about $3,000 each.
According to Mayor Sue McKortoff, it’s up to individual councillors to decide if they want to attend. “Anyone on council who wants to go … there is money available in the budget to attend,” she said.
Contacted by phone today, Campol refused comment. Youngberg, however, made a spirited defence of the conference’s value, adding that she will pay part of the expense herself.
The event was the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), which ran from May 31 to June 3 at the Halifax Convention Centre.
The FCM describes itself as the “national voice of municipal government.” The conference features workshops, seminars, networking opportunities and a chance to listen to the federal party leaders. There is also a trade show.
Materials from the FCM about the conference emphasise the educational and training opportunities to make elected municipal representatives more effective. The theme for this year’s conference was Tools for tomorrow’s Canada.
Youngberg said in an interview this afternoon that the access to information and people in the area of federal support for affordable housing alone “was worth the registration fee.”
“I intend to come back and put somewhat of a plan together with the housing information that I’ve got, together with the people I met with at Canada Mortgage and Housing,” she said. “And if I don’t run again that’s passed on to the person who takes over my portfolio.”
As for whether she’ll be around after October 20, Youngberg said: “I’ve got a couple of projects that I’m involved in and I just want see how they work out before I make a decision.”
Campol told ODN in December that he won’t be running. “I kind of need to focus on career at this point,” he said. “In my past position I was self employed so I could sort of make my own schedule.”
At the time, he had recently taken a job as general manager at the newly-opened Boston Pizza in Osoyoos. More recently, he has accepted a contract project manager position at the Penticton Indian Band’s development arm.
Contacted at the PIB Development Corporation office this morning, Campol said, “I don’t want to comment to ODN about anything.”
Asked specifically, “Can you tell me what value the town of Osoyoos is getting from your trip to the FCM, considering that you’re not running for re-election in the fall?” he said: “I’m not interested in answering that either, but thanks.”
The $3,000 estimate of the cost of the trip includes: $1,000 for round-trip airfare to Halifax; conference registration fee of $845; five nights hotel in Halifax for $800; and four days of $100 per diems.
Meanwhile in Oliver, none of the five members of council exercised their option to take in the Halifax conference.