COURTENAY, B.C. – Bob Wells wants to explain his expenses.
Wells, who serves on Courtenay city council, was included in the latest disclosures of salaries and expenses for city employees and elected officials.
The document covered all employees paid above $75,000 for the year 2017.
Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula was paid $61,448, with total expenses listed at $5070.
Wells had the highest expenses over the year, with a total of $6657 filed.
On Tuesday, he spoke with MyComoxValleyNow.com to explain that figure.
“The expenses that are given out to accounts are generally for conferences and in my case, it was the three conferences that I went to last year,” he said.
“First of all, we go to the federal municipality conference (FCM), where we are able to advocate for things on a national level.”
He said the FCM has done a “phenomenal job” in advocating for municipal issues.
“The biggest issue is infrastructure, and you know, the result of the last election was a commitment to really put infrastructure dollars into the community so that we can deal with our infrastructure deficit,” he said.
He added that other topics of discussions at the conferences he’s attended include the legalization of marijuana and affordable housing.
“That’s really the main reason why I go to these conferences, to make sure our communities are being represented and advocated for, but also we’re able to do some professional development and learn best practices,” he said.
“In all those (conferences), the ability to learn and to advocate are unprecedented and you can do it at a level that you just can’t do if you are staying in your own community.”
Wells added that he also has a lot of responsibility as the chair of the CVRD’s water committee.
“I have really put in the time and effort to go to these conferences to make sure we are making the best decisions,” he said.
“Right now, I sit on the waste to energy committee and to be able to go to Halifax and see the latest technology in waste energy (is a positive).”
He said the City covers travel expenses, accommodations and registration to conferences.
“It’s up to us to make sure that we have our (outside of city) work covered while we’re away from home and taking time away from our families,” he said.
“Most of these conferences start at 7-7:30 in the morning and you’re often going until 11, 12 o’clock at night. So they are long days packed with a lot of information, but at the end of the day you’re able to walk away not just having learned this information but building relationships with other communities which again, is really important to have that culture of collaboration across the country that you wouldn’t otherwise get if you were just staying in your community.”
In total, Courtenay council was paid $199,101, with total expenses listed at $25,372.
-With files from James Wood