McBride Library issues need clarification

I read the recent story in the Valley Sentinel reported by Alan Fredericks on the McBride Library Museum update and I have some concerns about the accuracy in the article regarding the comment made in the story “A previous Committee of the Whole was unable to work together and was disbanded in late 2013.”

To clarify, back in 2013 this Committee of the Whole was made up of the Library Committee members, Museum Committee members, Regional District staff including myself the Regional District Director at the time along with Village of McBride staff and the Mayor and Council members. My concern is that this comment is totally inaccurate and the fact is we did not disband because we could not work together.

A number of meetings were held in 2013 where “The Committee of the Whole” reviewed and assessed the various options for the relocation of the Library and Museum. We talked in depth about each of these options and the pros and cons of moving forward with each of the options and at the end of the day the Library and Museum group felt they wanted to still focus on acquiring 521 Main Street as they felt this to be the most desirable and best location for their operation.

I recall an amicable discussion was held at the last meeting and we all agreed to forego any further meetings for the time being. It was made abundantly clear by Donna Munt the Chair of the Committee of the Whole that the Regional District and Village of McBride would be more than happy to meet with both the Library and Museum Committees should they wish to meet in the future and discuss new ideas or need help with any grant applications or just sit down and talk about other options.

In fact an invitation was extended in late 2013 to the Librarian, Naomi Bella-Boudreau and the Library Board Committee to make a presentation to the Regional District Board for a letter of support for any grant application they may be pursuing to acquire funding for 521 Main Street but this never happened and to my knowledge it still hasn’t happened as of today.

I know that before the Regional District Board would support any letter of support, the board would want to see a strong business plan from the library board confirming there would be no significant increase in their annual operating budget should they acquire the building at 521 Main Street.

I would also trust our new elected Regional District Director Danielle Alan would be in support of this type of requirement to ensure the taxpayers of the Robson Valley don’t have to deal with any type of significant budget increase from the McBride Library board.

Not taking away the experience of our local contractors I think it might be time for the Library/Museum Committee to possibly start thinking outside the box. Perhaps look at bringing in someone from outside the community with extensive experience in architectural building design and development. Doing this might trigger some fresh ideas for the existing site or other sites in the community that might address the needs of the library/museum at a much cheaper cost that is currently being asked of 521 Main Street.

On the other hand I see the Elks Hall is up for sale for $110,000?? This might be a viable option versus the 521 Main street option and the library could also acquire the vacant piece of property next door that might provide some flexibility for the wants and needs of the museum. Like I said start thinking outside the box??

In the end I take exception that blame is being directed to the previous village administration and council as well as the Regional District Administration and myself as the former Director that we were unable to work together as being totally false and inaccurate.

Ken Starchuck
McBride, BC

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