by EVAN MATTHEWS
There could be a good opportunity for a new Village of McBride Councillor.
Since the resignation of Village Counc. Sharon Reichert, the Village of McBride has been represented at the regional district by alternate director Rick Thompson.
The position of Regional District Director — which is held by an elected Councillor and is the highest paid among McBride’s elected officials — was formerly held by Sharon Reichert, but was left vacant after Reichert resigned from council along with Councillors Edee Tracy and Ralph Bezanson.
Councillor Rick Thompson is listed as McBride’s alternate regional district representative, and he took over the position upon Reichert’s resignation, as per legislation. Coun. Thompson attended the December regional district meeting, and he will attend the January meeting, according to Mayor Loranne Martin.
The regional district representative position is one example of opportunity that McBride’s newest councillors could experience, according to Martin, as the position has direct access to a higher branch of government, and the politicians who fill the seats.
“We have a lot of services provided to McBride through the regional district,” says Martin, pointing to the Robson Valley Recreation Centre, or the new Museum and Library.
Not only does the regional district play a role in McBride’s current essential services, but Mayor Martin says the regional district plays an integral role in McBride’s future, too, and whichever new councillor is named to the position will also play a significant role.
“It’s important… because of the highway corridor. What happens between Tête Jaune and Prince George greatly affects McBride,” says Martin.
Because the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George (RDFFG) is so vast geographically, Mayor Martin says there can be disconnect between the regional district government and small, rural towns like McBride.
Not only does the regional district play a role in McBride’s current essential services, but Mayor Martin says the regional district plays an integral role in McBride’s future, too, and whichever councillor is named to the position will also play a significant role
Whoever ends up taking the position of McBride’s regional district representative, according to the Mayor, will have a chance to repair the disconnect, and advocate for services in McBride.
Though the regional district position is “the most glamorous” to a councillor in terms of income and government access, Mayor Martin says other positions are open for new councillors too.
Various positions on committees such as the Robson Valley Region (marketing) or McBride’s Community Foundation Committee are available, according to the Mayor, as many of the committees require a member of Council, but have been left without, to date.
“We haven’t had a Council liaison representative on the Chamber (of Commerce) Committee for a long period of time, for example,” says Martin.
“There’s a ton of work to do,” she says.
The most important thing, according to Mayor Martin, is linking McBride to the greater — regional district — community.
“There are challenges, and there always will be,” says Martin. “We want to start focusing on the positives.”
Based on the new councillors’ area of expertise and their desires, Mayor Martin says she expects Council to name a new regional district representative, as well as a McBride Council representative to many of the other committees mentioned, immediately following the Mar. 4 by-election.
Editor’s Note: The word “Council” was added to the sentence “Mayor Martin says she expects Council to name a new regional district representative,” as upon fact checking, The Goat found Council, not the Mayor, has to appoint the regional district representative. Coun. Thompson, the alternate representative who is currently the acting primary director, could retain the position if Council so chooses. An alternate would still need to be chosen as well. — Jan. 23, 2017, EM.