Frizzell ‘Excited’ About New Role with FCM
Prince George, B.C. – “I’m really excited about what’s coming up.”
The words of Prince George city councillor and newly elected third vice-president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Garth Frizzell.
Frizzell beat out two other councillors (from Victoria and Langley) for his new post last weekend in Ottawa.
He says it paves the way for his eventual presidency in three years.
“Well, the third vice-president is an assumed succession that you go from there to second vice-president, to first and in 2020 the presidency.”
Frizzell says it won’t take away from his council duties in Prince George noting it will add just one additional meeting to his calendar.
“And one more opportunity to meet with senior levels of government. I’ll be meeting with leaders of the political parties, so it’s going to be a change in the level of people I’ll be meeting on a regular basis.”
Now in his eight year with the organization (he previously served as a board member), he says he made a push for the executive because of the advances the organization has made for municipalities in recent years.
“Over the last 10 years, with this concerted, strategic road to advocacy, what’s it’s meant is we’ve been seeing two or three messages being heard loudly,” says Frizzell.
“Fifteen years ago, infrastructure wouldn’t have been on everyone’s lips but it sure it now. Housing wasn’t on the radar from a local government level. Transit.”
(For example phase one of the federal government’s 2016 infrastructure plan proposed to provide over $11.9 billion over five years, including $3.4 billion over three years to upgrade and improve public transit systems, $5 billion over five years for investments in water, wastewater and green infrastructure projects and $3.4 billion over five years for social infrastructure, including affordable housing).
He says another tangible benefit of all their advocacy work has been the Gas Tax Fund transfer from the federal government to municipalities (Prince George received just over $3 million this year).
Additionally, Frizzell says the FCM now has a seat at the national table for new and pressing issues.
“Discussing everything from the opioid crisis to housing – municipal leaders will now be invited to that table. Local government priorities are really making their way to the national stage. It’s a big deal.”