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Williams elected to FCM board

New Westminster Coun. Lorrie Williams -
New Westminster Coun. Lorrie Williams
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New Westminster Coun. Lorrie Williams has fought long and hard for a job she's wanted for a few years even though it doesn't pay her a penny.

She finally got it last week when she was elected as a B.C. representative on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) board of directors.

"It's a very sought after position and I was very pleased to get it," said Williams. "I think I can bring a voice of NW and BC to the table. I know the issues and pay attention."

She said she's been on FCM committees before and believes it's a powerful lobby group that is non-partisan and can work with any government.

The biggest issue on the FCM radar, and it has been for a long time, is municipal infrastructure, said Williams. The need to improve aging road, sewer and other utilities infrastructure is growing exponentially every year.  Although it doesn't affect New Westminster, she would like to see a category for small municipalities that don't have the staff to compete for senior government infrastructure funding.

"We have a lot of little communities in B.C. and just to make application they don't have the staff to do that kind of work," she said.

As for how she hopes she'll be able to help out New Westminster, she said, "transportation and housing are probably going to come up pretty fast into the No. 1 position. Affordable housing is the biggest issue. The federal government has backed out of it."

She said it is unfair for the senior governments to download the problem onto municipalities, like New West, who feel they can't ignore the issue even though it's not their responsibility.

"We look after our homeless. Quite a few people keeping drifting in because it's easier to move into New Westminster," said Williams.

She said it would be cheaper if the senior governments provided proper housing to keep them off the streets because it would reduce the health and police costs, which Ottawa the provinces spend a lot of money funding.

Williams was elected for a one-year term, and although there are eight provincial spots Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby get automatic representatives because of their population. "It's actually very hard to get another Lower Mainland person on the board," she said.

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