By most accounts, the Metro Vancouver region is in an enviable position – renowned for its livability, natural beauty and pursuit of a sustainable future. Yet, the pressure to compete in a global economy and maintain the quality of life residents have grown to expect demands ever-increasing levels of service and amenity provision and significant capital and infrastructure investment…..all of which comes at a cost. While local governments continually strive to improve efficiencies, adhere to a growing number of regulations, and ensure accountability, they face significant financial challenges as they try to navigate how best to deliver a growing suite of services to residents and manage expectations. In an era of constrained revenues and growing concern regarding regional affordability, have we reached a tipping point? What alternatives and trade-offs are we willing to consider? How can we ensure the cumulative costs of delivering the services and infrastructure citizens expect does not unintentionally undermine the affordability of the region?
On November 28, 2012 from 8:30 am - 3:30pm at the Hilton Hotel, Burnaby, Metro Vancouver hosted a Regional Finance Symposium to discuss the challenges local governments and other public agencies are facing in delivering services and infrastructure at a level and cost that meet the expectations of residents, now and into the future. Moderated by Michael Goldberg, Professor and Dean Emeritus, Sauder School of Business, UBC and Scholar in Residence, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, the Symposium convened community members and leaders, experts, and innovators from the public and private sectors to discuss, debate, and deliberate challenges and opportunities. Gord Hume
, one of Canada’s leading voices on municipal government, cultural planning, and creative cities, and the author of Taking Back Our Cities, opened the Symposium. A responding panel consisting of thought leaders from the business community, local government and the non-profit sector debated and discussed the provocative messages put forth by Gord Hume. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Union of BC Municipalities delivered a special presentation on infrastructure delivery and financing local governments, and the afternoon featured back-to-back panels on solutions and ideas for moving forward.