By Andrea Arnold

Karen DubÔ© (right), Community Economic Development Coordinator discusses future plans and grants with attendee Doug Monroe during the village open house on February 5, 2019. /ANDREA ARNOLD

The Village of McBride hosted an open house on the evening of Tuesday February 5, 2019 at the community hall in McBride. Attendees to the event had the opportunity to meet and talk to members of council as well as representatives from the Regional District of Fraser Fort George about issues, grants, assessments and safety.

Stations were set up around the hall with charts and handouts to educate the public on what the village employees have been working on. Councillor Hruby encouraged community members to participate in a survey to express their likes and dislikes as well as voice ideas on projects they would like to see launched. This survey can be completed online (see the village website)”  and the results will be in later this month.

CAO Sheila McCutcheon was present to conduct a poll asking for public opinion on the possibility of a cannabis retail location opening in the valley.

Also at the meeting were the results from the Robson Valley Recreation and Community Centres survey. In summary, the survey showed that 62.1% of respondents strongly agreed and 20.1% agreed that the Recreation Centre is an important asset to the area. 10.9% were neutral, .6% disagreed and 6.3% strongly disagreed. The results from the questions asking if the public feels that the Community Centre is an important asset brought the following results: 45.4% strongly agree, 26.4% agree, 16.1% neutral 4.6% disagreed and 7.5% strongly disagree. The survey also showed that half of the participants are not in favour of reduced hours and increased taxes, and the opinions were closely split in regards to increasing taxes to keep the services viable. Copies of the results are available to be picked up at the McBride Village Office.”  It will also be posted on the Regional District website later this week.

Community Economic Development Coordinator Karen DubÔ© and Grant Writer Abi Ward were on hand to showcase a list of grants that the village has applied for since 2017. Their display detailed the amount received for each grant application that has been approved and which ones are still pending.”  Between 2017 and 2018, the village applied for $2,448,207 to be used on community projects. $1,586,660 has been approved and there are still seven applications pending, as well as all submissions that have been sent since the beginning of 2019.

It was this information that had attendee Doug Monroe interested. He came to the event specifically to find out about current infrastructure development and what plans are in motion. He also was curious about what funding is available for the planned projects, and if grants are being used to cover the costs. After spending time discussing his questions with DubÔ©, Monroe was happy he had attended. “This event gave people a chance to get informed about what the village is doing,” he said. “There is great value in allowing members of the community to become informed.” He also thought it was good for the village staff to put themselves out there to be approached with questions, or even just to introduce themselves.

Michael Higgins, Meredith Burmaster, Laura Zapotichny, Renee McCloskey, and Amanda Rich from the regional district had displays showing information about projects they have in the works. Initiatives for; environmentally friendly changes that will be seen at the transfer station, new tourism marketing through videos and swag available for companies to utilize, and public safety information stemming from increase in forest fires and other natural threats.

Former councillor Rick Thompson attended the event to see what upcoming plans the village has, and specifically to see the results from the Rec Centre survey. “I thought it was a well done event,” he said.

CAO McCutcheon was very happy with the outcome of the evening.

“We received many positive comments on how inviting an atmosphere it was and of course all the information we had prepared for the community kept everyone busy gathering documents and posting their opinions and comments,” said McCutcheon. “We received a wide variety of questions including the upcoming budget, snow removal, pending grant applications, seniors housing and citizen services.”

McCutcheon would like to thank to everyone who braved the cold weather to attend.