By Andrea Arnold
Acting Deputy Mayor Lucille Green called the January 26, 2021 Village of McBride Council meeting to order at 7:00pm. Also present via Zoom were Councillors Frederick, Hruby and Smith. Mayor Runtz was also present, but acted as a councillor. Runtz, who is recovering from an inner ear issue, said he was testing things out to see if he could chair the next meeting. Village employees Sharyn Silverio, Karen Dube, Sandy Salt, Sherri Flynn, John
Peterson and Matt Slaney were also present, along with two members of the public.
Shona Thorne and Krystin Dubuc from Community Futures of Fraser-Fort George presented to Council on the progress and findings of the Community Futures Regional Outreach Program. The main objective of the program is to help rural Canadians start, expand, or sustain businesses and improve communities and their local economy. 40 businesses in the Robson Valley have been involved in the research. They want to support five workable, feasible and important projects. They are asking people in the region for input on what issues are most important through a 1-minute online survey, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ListeningtoFFG.
Fees and Charges
Council directed Administration to prepare a Fees & Charges amendment Bylaw for 2021, to be brought forward at the February 9, 2021 Regular Council meeting. Councillor Frederick expressed concern regarding the spread between residential and commercial fees. Councillor Hruby brought up her concern for business and individuals who are financially struggling. Hruby, Smith and Runtz all voiced a desire to see no increase this year. A request was made to Sherri Flynn/Finance department to provide a comparison of residential and commercial increase amounts for the next meeting.
Train Station support
Council passed a motion directing administration to submit an application for grant funding for the McBride Historic Train Station Revitalization Project through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – COVID-19 Infrastructure Resiliency Stream. Council also voted to support the project and commit to any associated ineligible costs and cost overruns.
2021 Census support
Council passed the motion to support the 2021 Census. They will do so by encouraging residents to complete the online census questionnaire, to provide accurate information that can be used to support programs for the benefit of the community. Also, Councillor Hruby requested administration to follow up on non-online options for census completion.
Council agreed to send a letter to NAV Canada expressing concern regarding the current Aeronautical Study process. Specifically, any reductions in NAV Canada air traffic control services or workforce adjustments would negatively impact the safety, social, health, environmental and economic well-being of communities throughout the region. This is part of a campaign directed by North Central Local Government Association to display a united front against the possible changes.
Chamber – Info Services
Council passed the motion approving a letter of support confirming the McBride & District Chamber of Commerce as the sponsor organization and the sole provider of community visitor services in the Village of McBride.
Meeting with Bond
Council passed the motion directing Administration to arrange a Zoom meeting with MLA Shirley Bond before the Spring Session of the Legislature in March in 2021, to provide a current update, and to raise any foreseeable issues the Village of McBride may have.
At 8:34 Council proceeded to an In-Camera meeting for consideration of matters per Section 90 (1) of the Community Charter related to: (a) person 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; (c ) Labour relations or other employee relations; (g) litigation or potential litigation affecting the municipality; and (k) negotiations and related discussions respecting the proposed provision of a municipal service that are in their preliminary stages and that, in the view of Council, could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality if they were held in public.