By Chris Parker
At the McBride Village Council meeting on Nov. 12, councillors spoke about attending various events before the meat of the Council meeting took place. Of note to several business in town, Councillor Basran mentioned that the upcoming Family Days in both B.C. and Alberta (different weekends) will generate significant traffic and activity with visiting sledders. Several of the councillors commended the Chamber of Commerce for their recent Business Expo held at the Rec Centre.
This was followed by a lengthy discussion about how to protect the public from vehicular traffic as they exit the alley to the east of Main Street and North of 2nd Avenue. With frequent truck traffic as well as public usage of the alley as clients leave the hardware/lumber yard the blind corner is a safety concern for those patrons going east or west on 2nd Avenue (in the vicinity of the Farm Store and Odds and Ends). Proposals such as speed bumps, mirrors, and various warning signs were all discussed. In the end further discussion and ideas will be entertained prior to a final decision.
Councillor Thompson, also chair of the McBride Community Forest Corporation, reported on the difficulty in filling their board vacancy. After a lengthy posting period, a total of two application packages were picked up, but neither individual followed through with an application. It was decided to not repost the vacancy at this time and council simply accepted the report as information received.
Finally the discussion turned to the 521 Main Street bylaw change. This request would allow the owner of the land in question to sell or lease his property to the Library/Museum organization to see this popular proposal move forward. (If passed, the bylaw will allow the new tenants to apply for various potential grants both from government and potential commercial contributors, foundations or individuals).
Council noted the amount of community support, and how the development would enhance the ‘look’ of the entrance to our village business district; they also commented on the limited amount of commercial land and not allowing further diversification of the business district (along the highway corridor for example). Then they discussed the proposal of the building having tax exempt status.
At this point Councillor Thompson introduced an amendment to the proposed bylaw which would see the Library not being eligible for tax exempt status on this property (The library/museum have indicated a willingness to live with this extra operating cost). Councillor Kimpton suggested moving this matter ahead now (not years from now) would be beneficial to those concerned. Councillor Basran discussed the need to listen to the community on this issue, while Councillor Rejman and Mayor Frasier both raised concerns about the lack of commercial space that would remain.
In the end, Councillors Basran, Kimpton and Thompson prevailed and third reading was approved, on a tight 3 – 2 vote.
It is presumed that the bylaw would not move forward to fourth reading (final approval) until a final agreement for the building is in place (some grants approved/significant donations confirmed). It does however allow the Library/Museum group to proceed with those applications.