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Briefly: January 24, 2014

Election campaign funds Expense limits incurred during local government elections is the subject of a review leading to government election reform.

Election campaign funds

Expense limits incurred during local government elections is the subject of a review leading to government election reform.

Coralee Oakes, minister of community, sport and cultural development, wrote to City of Powell River mayor and council and Powell River Regional District board to invite local government input on the second phase of local government elections reform after the ministry published a white paper on the subject.

Timing is strategic for the stakeholder engagement, stated Oakes. “Due to the diversity of views on the topic and the complex policy issues involved,” she wrote, “I wanted to start discussions on expense limits early and be in a position to introduce limits with plenty of lead-time before the next elections are held after 2014.”

Local government elections rules apply to municipalities, regional districts, parks boards, the Islands Trust and boards of education.

The white paper provides an overview of the proposed Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA), describing each part of the act and a draft of the legislation proposed for introduction in spring 2014. Highlights include disclosure and registration by third-party advertisers, sponsorship information requirements for all election advertising, campaign finance disclosure statements to be filed 90 days, rather than 120, following an election; banning anonymous contributions; enabling a key role for Elections BC in the compliance, and enforcement of campaign finance rules in municipal elections.

The proposed LECFA incorporates the majority of the recommendations proposed by the joint provincial-UBCM Local Government Elections Task Force and is the first time local election campaign rules will be contained in a separate, standalone act which, if passed, takes effect November 2014.

The act is the most extensive campaign finance rule changes in nearly two decades and will assist in providing clarity as well as establish Elections BC’s new role in compliance and enforcement.

Comments from the public are invited until January 31, 2014. The white paper can be reviewed at and comments sent via email [email protected] or by mail Local Government Elections Reform, Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, PO Box 9847 Stn Prov. Govt., Victoria, BC V8W 9T2.

Bat activity

A disease that has killed millions of bats in eastern North America may arrive in British Columbia and Powell River residents are being asked to report sightings of bats in winter.

White nose syndrome is a fungal disease that kills bats during their winter hibernation period.

Bats provide tremendous benefits because they are such effective consumers of pest insects and their loss could lead to significant ecological and economic impacts, according to a ministry of environment press release.

White nose syndrome is named for the fuzzy white fungal growth on the nose, ears and wings of hibernating bats. It is thought to spread from bat-to-bat contact although human spread by contaminated clothing cannot be ruled out.

By informing biologists of sightings, the public can help prevent the fungus from affecting bats in the Powell River area.

Reports of winter bat roosting sites, unusual behaviour such as flying during the day, and observation of dead or dying bats can be made through calling 1.250.387.9500.

Young dancers in ballet

Seven Powell River dancers will perform with Ballet Jörgen in Romeo and Juliet on Tuesday, January 28.

They are from Laszlo Tamasik School of Dance: Sophia Milsom, Annika Mulder and Katie Dohm; from Sheridan Dance Academy: Hailey and Nicole Shigeoka, Emily White, Sydney Ford and Eden Head.

All the chosen dancers will attend rehearsals and costume fittings on Monday and Tuesday in advance of the evening performance that begins at 7:30 pm in Max Cameron Theatre at Brooks Secondary School.