by Andru McCracken

2018 file photo

Mayor Loranne Martin and councillors Rosemary Hruby, Rick Thompson, Harold Edwards, and Lucille Green as well as interim chief administrative officer Mark Brown, chief financial officer Claudia Frost, economic development officer Karen Dube and customer service representative Sherri Flynn were in attendance.

Economic Development Action Plan

After approving the agenda and the minutes from the previous meeting, the mayor introduced Randy Sunderman from Lions Gate Consulting, the company contracted to create an economic development action plan.

“Our goal is to scan for economic development projects that fit with the vision of the village,” said Sunderman.

He said they conducted some research in advance and had had meetings that week to ‘ground truth’ the research.

He said they met with seniors, educators, tourism operators, small and home based businesses, recreation groups, health care professionals, the forestry sector, retail and service sector, contractors and equipment operators and were about to meet with youth.

“That’s giving us a sense of what makes McBride tick,” said Sunderman.

Martin asked if Sunderman met with representatives of the agriculture industry and he said he had.

He said the project would be finished by March.

Sled Town Show Down

Next on the agenda, Vicki Barrett announced news of the McBride Big Country Snowmobile Association’s win of the Sledtown showdown, a western Canadian competition for the most popular riding area. Barrett is president of the local snowmobiling association.

Karen Dube, economic development officer, said that they are working with local organizations to maximize the coverage that McBride will get in the mid-winter issue of Snowriders West.

Dube said McBride would be featured on the front cover and in a two page spread and was working with a number of groups to raise $4000 to advertise the community.

“It’s a great opportunity to feature McBride. We’re working together on the content,” said Dube.

Rick Thompson congratulated and thanked the club and mentioned Sheila Anderson for her work promoting the contest.

“This is a huge opportunity, one of the best economic development opportunities that’s out there and this is a really good price,” said Thompson.

CAO Job Description

Thompson and Edwards moved and seconded the motion to approve the job description for the chief administrative officer. There were some minor amendments from Edwards and Green.

Waterline extension to 730 Hwy 16 West

Council received a report on the matter. Council referred the matter to strategic plan and financial plan deliberations and to notify the Ingles of the same.

Thompson said he’d like to see a formal report from staff regarding options should funding become available.

Broadband Select Committee Terms of Reference

Council considered the terms of reference. Martin wanted to refer the terms of reference to staff, for comments about staff time commitment and how many committee members there would be. She said because it requires resources is should be part of the strategic plan.  It was tabled until the February 13th meeting.

Edwards expressed a concern.

“We need to be careful that we are not buying fibre when we are just at the point where it becomes obsolete. As long as we have that in mind, when we set up the committee that’s a great idea to do,” said Edwards.

Thompson said they would consider that.

Bylaws permits and policies

Council gave third reading to Bylaw 776 the fees and charges bylaw, amending Bylaw 768.

Frost made a slight change to the schedule A, the rate paid per machine for coin operated laundry. The 2019 rate changed from $55.09 to $57.09.

BC Natural Resources Forum

Council approved covering the expenses for Councilor Edward to attend the NDIT forum at the BC Natural Resources Forum.

Snowriders Magazine Advertising

Council approved funding of up to $1500 to advertise in the Snowriders Magazine and website, with the intent of having a full page advertisement for McBride.

Responding to the Province

A late item from the province enquired into Village’s progress with respect to the recommendations in Isabelle Hadford’s report as well as CAO recruitment. Council decided that the Interim CAO Brown would compile a response with regards the village’s work on CAO recruitment.

Council decided to take its time to respond to the letter re: Hadford’s report and would ask the Province for more time.

“I think we need more time to look at Hadford’s report and carefully respond to that,” said Thompson, echoing a sentiment expressed by other councillors.

(Hadford’s report to council was provided to the Rocky Mountain Goat through a Freedom of Information Request but it was heavily redacted, the government removing nearly all the recommendations)

In Camera

Council then moved in camera according to section 90(1)(c) of the Community Charter for an item relating to labour relations or other employee relations.