McBride, meet your candidates

by EVAN MATTHEWS

Because of the upcoming Mar. 4 by-election, The Goat spent time over the last week contacting each of the would-be councillors and posing a series of McBride-related questions.

Each candidate was asked the same questions, and asked to keep the word-count to no more than 200 words per question. The Goat made no edits other than punctuation, grammar and formatting.

The candidates are listed in random order.

Photo submitted by candidate

REJMAN, Irene

Do you have Council/business experience?

I have 12 years of council experience from 2002-14 in the position of councillor.

Why do you want the job of Councillor?

I would like the job of councillor because I’m caring and passionate about the community. I want to help to keep McBride moving forward.

What is the biggest issue facing the Village of McBride? How can it be tackled?

The biggest issue facing the Village is the economy. The best way to tackle this is to provide stable leadership by working together for the betterment of the community.

What are your thoughts on the McBride Community Forest Corporation (MCFC)?

My thoughts on the Community Forest are to see it remain strong, provide employment, so the residents of the valley benefit from this company.

We’ve seen turnover in McBride’s Council, what is the key to keeping consistency on Council?

The key to keeping consistency on council is collaboration, cooperation, understanding between council members and the mayor. Everyone must work together, or people become frustrated and quit. If you can’t work together then there is no consistency.

What is the Village of McBride doing well?

The Village of McBride does well in providing services for their residents with the present tax base.

What do you love about your community?

I love the people, as they are our greatest resource. We are grateful for clean air, our water, and the scenery is beautiful. It is a great place to raise a family.

MOSELEY, Mike — No headshot submitted

Editor’s note: Mike Moseley was provided the same questions as the rest of the candidates. Moseley responded to one question, which The Goat is publishing. The Goat followed up with Moseley, but did not receive answers to the rest of the questions.

Why do you want the job of Councillor?

The nine candidates that have put their names forward form a very diverse and eclectic group here in McBride. However, there is one common thread throughout these people, and that is the strong desire to see McBride do well and prosper. The electorate would be well served by electing ANY three of these individuals because they all care for our town and have shown this by their actions in the past. Now is a time to rally and come together to form a unified council, and again ANY three are more than up to this task. Congratulations to all for running during a difficult situation. I know we will rebound. We may flex, but will never break. Good luck to all.

RICH, Joseph

Photo submitted by candidate

Do you have Council/business experience?

I have no previous council experience. I do have many years of business experience right here in the Robson Valley and abroad. After graduation I went into the logging industry, operating my own logging company. From there I bought a local garage and gas station that I operated for 12 years. After selling, I established a mobile mechanical service operating in the Robson Valley and abroad.

Why do you want the job of Councillor?

I am running for Council because I feel I have the knowledge and experience to bring to the table that will help this community move forward economically and socially. I also feel I have the ability to bring to council a sense of unity and forward movement.

What is the biggest issue facing the Village of McBride? How can it be tackled?

I feel that the largest issue facing our town is economic growth and stability. To fix this we need to work together to promote and attract new industry to the area. Not forgetting to build on and support the local business and economic structure we already have.

What are your thoughts on the McBride Community Forest Corporation (MCFC)?

While it is in a bit of a financial quiet time, largely due to a lack of available wood to cut, (the financial quiet time is) directly related to overcutting in the past, but there is much to look forward to in the future. The kinks are being worked out at the board level and as we move towards more of our cut becoming available in the future we can look forward to MCFC once again being able to support local events and programs.

We’ve seen turnover in McBride’s Council, what is the key to keeping consistency on Council?

The key to keeping council consistent starts with responsible voting. Vote as an informed voter not an emotional voter. After that it is up to the elected official to maintain a level of professionalism and keep themselves educated and informed on all topics for responsible decision making. I also feel that it is key that all board members posses good team working skills to keep consistency on any board.

What is the Village of McBride doing well?

I feel our town is doing a great job of showing pride, unity, and its ability to diversify in times of much economic struggle. We are also doing a great job of preserving our history and making the most of some very distinct attributes of nature that are exclusive to our area.

What do you love about your community?

I love the fact that we have been able to raise our family conjointly with the community and that our worse concerns for our children’s safety was that they may get lost in our beautiful wilderness, and never having to worry for their safety when they were out and around in the community. My list of things that I love could go on forever. So I will end by saying this, the thing I love the most is the way this community pulls together in a time of hardship, showing unity and strength, making me a proud resident of the Robson Valley! 

BALCAEN, Bob — No headshot provided

Do you have Council/business experience?

I have 16 years of council experience, as a councillor, committee member and alderman. I just feel things are slipping a bit in McBride, and if I can help with jobs and running the corporation, then I should jump in.

Why do you want the job of Councillor?

Primarily, I want to see if I can help to improve the community and get some more industry. We need to have some more jobs, and I don’t know if they would be (in the form of) CN, forestry, tourism, etc., but we do need some more jobs in McBride. It would be my biggest priority.

What is the biggest issue facing the Village of McBride? How can it be tackled?

The fact we’re not growing. The tragedy of losing our mill three or four years ago really hurt McBride. I’d like to see whether that type of industry could be brought back — I don’t know if we have the timber reserves — but there is room, I suspect for expansion in tourism and the railroad, possibly. We’ve got to remember too, the backbone of McBride is farmers. If there is anything we can do to help and encourage farmers, I’d look at that, too.

What are your thoughts on the McBride Community Forest Corporation (MCFC)?

I was part of the group that initially applied for and got the Community Forest. It was based on the models in Revelstoke and 100 Mile House. The whole idea of the Community Forest Corporation is to enhance local activity and provide timber at a reasonable price to local entrepreneurs. But by the same token, the forestry has regulations on how this can be run. I feel with good people on (board), it can get back on track and do what it is intended to do. I don’t make complaints about past decisions… but there have been some missteps along the way.

We’ve seen turnover in McBride’s Council, what is the key to keeping consistency on Council?

If you don’t mind me going back a few years, the Province created some of this (turnover). We used to have annual elections. You would sit for two years, and every year there were two councillors that would get elected, and every other year it would be two councillors and a mayor (or in the old days, alderman) elected. I feel a four-year term is a little onerous. The other thing, I suspect, is people don’t quite realize just how much work it is to actually be on Council. In the case of McBride, it’s not just a village council, but a big business corporation. We own the Village Complex in McBride, the train station, the Community Forest Corporation, the airport, and most recently the old forestry building. It’s a business as well as a Village. To change the length of the term would be very difficult. It would require a huge lobby in order to change it to even a three-year term, or annual elections. It would have to be discussed.

What is the Village of McBride doing well?

I think our infrastructure is in good shape. We also expanded the boundary in the mid-90s — it took four years to do that — so we have land available. My bottom line is we have good water, good air, good land and good people.

What do you love about your community?

I’ve spent most of my life here, except for nine years in the Air Force. I like the people. I like the fact that we have mountains and four seasons. McBride is just a wonderful place to live. My wife Hazel and I raised our five children here. If we had to do it over again, I’m sure we’d choose McBride again. I’d like to serve the community again and see what I can do.

Photo submitted by candidate

SMITH, Diane

Do you have Council/business experience?

I have actively served on volunteer boards for many years, and have attended many council meetings. I fully understand the need to encourage and support businesses, business opportunities, and service organizations that sustain this community.

Why do you want the job of Councillor?

I look forward to the task of providing leadership by enabling volunteer organizations to continue the fine work they do, having an open mind to business opportunity, ensuring cost-effective administration, and engaging the public in action towards a more cohesive community.

What is the biggest issue facing the Village of McBride? How can it be tackled?

McBride needs to get a healthy economy happening. We need to pursue every business opportunity.

What are your thoughts on the McBride Community Forest Corporation (MCFC)?

Through active interest in the Community Forest (CF) over many years, I believe the CF needs to move forward in engaging a capable manager and ensuring adequate oversight by a qualified Board, which has direct responsibility to the community for open and transparent reporting, engaging the community in deliberations on potential forest ventures and activities, and in accordance with the original approved Management Plan for this community forest.

We’ve seen turnover in McBride’s Council, what is the key to keeping consistency on Council?

The Community Charter governs public office. Elected representatives must consider all opinions without fear of personal attack. The argument a councillor brings to an issue is the basis of convincing others to consider your opinion. Staff too must adhere to appropriate language and respect in assisting the work of council.

What is the Village of McBride doing well?

Cost-savings have been realized by certifying public works personnel. The Village has tried to accommodate groups and people with community-based projects.

What do you love about your community?

I love the people. The heart, commitment, kindness, ingenuity, and dogged determination give me hope there is merit in running for council once again.

FREDERICK, Allan

Photo submitted by candidate

Do you have Council/business experience?

I have served two full three-year terms as a former Village Councillor from 2002-08. I have also attended the Council meetings regularly. I have 30 years of banking experience and several years of business and personnel experience.

Why do you want the job of Councillor?

I want to make a difference in our community and believe my experience will be an asset. 

What is the biggest issue facing the Village of McBride? How can it be tackled?

One of the biggest issues faced, is the lack of experience of some Council members and administration, and their inability to work in a team atmosphere. It is important for the community to realize that because of this, and the resignation of the three Council members, our Village has been in limbo for several months and important things have not been dealt with. By electing those with experience, knowledge and commitment, we can move our Village forward in getting things done. I think we need to promote positively, acknowledging our achievements and successes and thereby changing the conversation of McBride. We need to use focus groups and encourage community input. 

What are your thoughts on the McBride Community Forest Corporation (MCFC)?

We need the Board of Directors to hire a local General Manager to the MCFC to ensure that it is again a profitable business providing local employment.

We’ve seen turnover in McBride’s Council, what is the key to keeping consistency on Council?

To keep consistent it is important to have experienced, dedicated and committed councillors that can work together respectfully as a team.

What is the Village of McBride doing well?

The Community Forest is an asset that we need to protect. The Village has Community Foundation grants that help community groups. Grants have been successfully secured. The Village supports other agencies in their goals.

What do you love about your community?

We are a caring community that comes together to help and support families. We offer fresh air, good water and a beautiful landscape around us.

Photo submitted by candidate

EDWARDS, Harold

Do you have Council/business experience?

I have not been on Council. My business experience comes from managing my own small off-grid farm and partnering with some others in building Castle Mountain Hydro’s hydroelectric power project. Over the last 45 years I have built and maintained infrastructures that supply all the services of a municipality: Water, sewer, power, garbage disposal, animal control, among others. In the ‘80s I was chairman of the Rec Centre Management committee for a time. In that job I learned some lessons about finding solutions to the occasional conflicts that came up between various interests.

Why do you want the job of Councillor?

The main strength I bring to the job is an ability to work in a positive way with others. Coaching ball teams and teaching school has taught me that a group will find solutions to problems when working in a positive way.

What is the biggest issue facing the Village of McBride? How can it be tackled?

The biggest issue for the Village of McBride is to find ways to halt the long slow decline in population and business tax base. To that end we need to identify the positive values our community offers and find ways to leverage those advantages for the benefit of the whole community.

What are your thoughts on the McBride Community Forest Corporation (MCFC)?

I live on a farm to the west of McBride and the Community Forest borders my property. I like the changes that are being made to allow those of us who have to deal with the practicalities of the Forest to have some say in the governance of the Corporation.

We’ve seen turnover in McBride’s Council, what is the key to keeping consistency on Council?

The key is for people on Council to deal respectfully with each other and make the most of our strengths. A good councilor will be able to listen to others and work cooperatively to meet the needs of the community. Sometimes that will mean letting go of your first idea when presented with a better one.

What is the Village of McBride doing well?

McBride’s Main Street is pretty well kept and looks clean and attractive as one goes between Highway 16 and the train station. This is one of the positive aspects on which we can build to make our community thrive.

What do you love about your community?

I really like the people in McBride. This is such a friendly place that I think we forget that not all communities have that advantage. You see this when we all go out to Dunster for the Ice Cream Social, or at the Canada Day celebrations. People of all ages are conversing and sharing wry comments about the weather or what some neighbour just did. It is true that in a small town everybody knows or thinks they know a great deal about you, but by the same token they won’t pass you by on the highway if you are in difficulty.

This is also a great place to raise kids. McBride has supplied good quality citizens to many places in the world, whether it is a makeup artist in London, UK, a forestry consultant in Ecuador, or a computer specialist in Switzerland.

Photo submitted by candidate

HRUBY, Rosemary

Do you have Council/business experience?

I have over 37 years of business experience, and an equal number of years on Boards, committees and groups both on a local level and a Provincial level.

Why do you want the job of Councillor?

I am running for Council because I feel our Village is off track. I would like to volunteer my time and energy to assist, in any way I can to get us back on track. I have been disappointed with the routes and outcomes our Council has taken recently and I believe that instead of complaining I need to help wherever I can.

What is the biggest issue facing the Village of McBride? How can it be tackled?

Our Economy is one of the biggest issues we are facing today. We need to work as a group to address infrastructure issues, search out and develop economic opportunities and attract investment. We all know that McBride is the best place in the world to live, we need to make sure the people looking to invest in the area or spend their tourist dollars realize that as well.

 What are your thoughts on the McBride Community Forest Corporation (MCFC)?

The McBride Community Forest Corporation needs to be supported as a source of employment for families in this community. We need to ensure that a better than competent, committed local manager is hired to ensure the continued health of the MCFC for the benefit of all of the residents of this area. The jobs created by contractors and businesspeople through the MCFC are more than vital.

We’ve seen turnover in McBride’s Council, what is the key to keeping consistency on Council?

We have experienced a great deal of Council turnover, so it is important that we commit to working as a team with the other council members for the good of the community. I am more than willing to work with whoever is successful in this election as well as all the residents of the Valley to move us forward. 

What is the Village of McBride doing well?

The Village is doing really well to stay afloat during a bit of upheaval. The fact that nine people have put their names forward speaks to the continued commitment of all of us to leave the past behind and move forward. 

What do you love about your community?

I love everything about this community. David and I chose this community all those years ago and have never regretted a moment. The people here, the fact that we are actually one big family, mixed in with spectacular land, water and wildlife make this the best place in the world to live.

GREEN, Lucille

Photo submitted by candidate

Do you have Council/business experience?

I have regularly attended Council Meetings for the last two years and have participated in many committees in my work and volunteer experience over the last 35 years.

I’ve lived in the Village of McBride for over 21 years and I plan to retire here. I have a diploma in Civil and Structural Technology and worked in the oil and gas industry for 11 years, both in construction and in supervising drilling operations.

I currently work for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure where I have over 25 years’ experience in survey, construction, inventory management and highway maintenance. I’ve managed and supervised projects with budgets up to and exceeding $1-million. 

Why do you want the job of Councillor?

I have skills, education and work experience that are directly transferable to the role of Councillor. I wish to utilize these skills as a Councillor to give back to the community that I love living in. I love living in the Robson Valley and I am committed to working hard for this community.

What is the biggest issue facing the Village of McBride? How can it be tackled?

One of the biggest issues facing the McBride community is financial stability and a lack of economic development. There needs to be initiatives to make McBride a desirable community to live in and to increase businesses in the process.

What are your thoughts on the McBride Community Forest Corporation (MCFC)?

Our most valuable Asset, the MCFC has been struggling for the last two years from a lack of experienced, knowledgeable leadership. From the most recent public MCFC meeting, it would appear that they are back on track. The next step is to hire a qualified general manager who will live locally and have a vested interest in the success of the MCFC. 

We’ve seen turnover in McBride’s Council, what is the key to keeping consistency on Council?

All Council members need to be knowledgeable and have a “team” mentality. There needs to be sufficient discussion and debate to make informed decisions. Once a decision has been made, all Council members need to move forward together, working towards the best interests of the Village.

What is the Village of McBride doing well?

The Village is supportive of improving cycling trails for tourism growth, providing opportunities for family functions such as the Winter Festival, supporting the Library and Museum in Grant Applications, providing Community Foundation grants to various community organizations and lobbying the School District to keep the local Schools open.

What do you love about your community?

I love the people in this community, their generosity and willingness to help those in need.