By Andrea Arnold

McBride Village Council met and Deputy Mayor Green called the meeting to order at 7:04 pm on Tuesday September 8, 2020. Present to the Zoom meeting was Councillors Frederick, Hruby and Smith. Also present was newly appointed CFO David AIderdice, outgoing CAO Sheila McCutcheon, to-be-appointed Interim CAO Heidi Frank, and one member of the public.

Council passed the motion to appoint Heidi Frank as the Interim Chief Administrative Officer and Corporate Officer for the corporation of the Village of McBride, and further authorized outgoing CAO Sheila McCutcheon to administer the Oath of Office to Frank for these responsibilities. Frank stated the Oath of Office.

Council also passed the motion authorizing Interim CAO Heidi Frank to be added as a signing officer for all Village of McBride Scotiabank and MFA banking and investment purposes.

Public Works Update
Council passed the motion to receive the report from Public Works documenting their activities up until August 31, 2020. This is the first report to Council submitted by new Public Works Operation Manager, John Peterson.

Tourism Committee terms of reference
Prior to the next motion, Council retracted a letter from the public record from Russ Purvis. The letter advocated for creating a group supporting the Ancient Forest as a destination. The letter was made public at the last meeting but states that the information contained was confidential.

The next motion pertained to Terms of Reference for a new Village of McBride Tourism Committee as presented by Russ Purvis, for information and further review. The purpose of the committee will be to advise Village Council in matters regarding tourism marketing, tourism promotion, and tourism product development. The proposal indicates that the committee would be comprised of 11 people representing many different community sectors, and all decisions and ideas will require approval by Council before implementation.

Splash Park Update
Council passed the motion to receive a letter from the Splash Park Steering Committee presenting a possible grant available. CAO McCutcheon spoke briefly on the topic stating that she recently had a conversation with a member of the committee and relayed the following information to Council. At this point, the splash park steering committee plans on submitting a grant application to help fund the project. There is a deadline of October 22, 2020 for the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Program, but due to the details needed for the application, they have decided to submit for the next intake. This will allow them a better chance of having a successful application. The grant does require some fundraising, and the committee hopes to work with the Village on the public washroom aspect of the proposal.

CMH Heliskiing and Summer Adventures Lodge Application Withdrawn
Council received a letter from Dave Butler, Director of Sustainability, CMH Heliskiing and Summer Adventures regarding the withdrawal of an application to build a Heli-ski lodge in the Robson Valley, and moved to bring the letter to the Minister of Tourism and Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, as part of the Union of BC Municipalities Ministry meeting topics. In the letter, Butler expresses disappointment at the situation, a feeling echoed by members of Council. He states they were given notices in July that there was a “fundamental conflict with the clearly-articulated public interest in caribou recovery and no specific items that could readily be addressed.” In order to prevent setting a precedent, CMH chose to withdraw their application before having it disallowed. Council further directed Administration to write a letter to Butler expressing their disappointment in the situation, their appreciation and support regarding the matter.

Annual Report
Council approved the Village of McBride 2019 Annual Report as presented. Local governments are required to present an Annual Report at a public meeting stating goals and objectives, completed plans and future goals.

Property Purchase
Council passed a motion to receive the report to Council regarding the possible purchase of the property at 100 Shantz Place. The purpose of the report is to advise Council on the final purchase dates, with intended future use for an affordable seniors and multi-family housing complex. BC Housing will partner with non-profit organizations across the province to see approximately $7 billion invested over 10 years for affordable housing administered through BC Housing. An official press release will be released regarding the purchase but had not been published by presstime.

LED Lighting Upgrades
Council approved the receipt of the report “BC Hydro LED Street Light Replacement Projects” and further approved the street lighting LED colour temperature option one – the warmer colour option. Over the next two or three years, BC Hydro will be changing out the bulbs in streetlights across the province. These new streetlights will increase nighttime visibility, reduce light pollution and last longer with less maintenance. Light replacement is expected to begin later this year.

Council passed the motion to approve Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw Option # 2: to proceed with the current Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw No. 761, 2016 exempting Church properties for 2021 and prior to October 31, 2021 reviews the addition of non-profit societies in the new bylaw for 2022 and forward, at that time.

Five-Year Financial Plan Amendment Request
Council passed the motion directing Administration and Finance to prepare an amended Five Year (2020-2024) Financial Plan Bylaw for Council’s consideration. Since the Five -Year Financial Plan Bylaw No 793.2020 was adopted in May 2020 there have been significant changes to the 2020 Operating and Capital Budgets. These changes could not have been planned for or anticipated, and warrant the amending of the bylaw. Events such as COVID-19, flooding, unprecedented turbidity as well as the development of a 10-year Tourism Plan and Age Friendly request for proposals (RFP) have contributed to the need for the amendment.

Council passed the motion that in accordance with Section 90 (l) (a) personal information about an identifiable individual who holds or is being considered for a position as an officer employee or agent of the municipality or another position appointed by the municipality, and(i) the receipt of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose, Council moved into a Closed In-Camera Meeting.

The open meeting was recessed at 7:51 pm in order to conduct the Closed In-Camera Meeting.