By Andrea Arnold

Mayor Runtz called the January 11, 2022 McBride council Zoom meeting to order at 7:03pm.

Water conservation plan presentation
David Franzmann and Bob Radloff from R. Radloff & Associates Inc. presented the Village of McBride 50-Year Water Conservation Plan for Council’s adoption. He outlined some of the changes that have been made to the current system and the resulting improved water usage rates over the last several years.

Space request for paramedic training
Tracy Finlay, Member of the Community presented a request for classroom accommodation to run a Primary Care Paramedic Course. The request is for a space that will accommodate approximately 15-20 people for three days every other weekend for 8.5 months (the duration of the course). The course has not been confirmed at this time. If it goes ahead, it will be open for neighbouring communities to also participate. A motion was added to the agenda further on, however, due to the already extended meeting, and the lack of urgency, the motion was tabled to be discussed at the next meeting.

Water plan adoption
Council adopted the Village of McBride 50 – Year Water Conservation Plan as presented.

Gifted flags
Council made a motion directing administration to send a letter of thanks to the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation for the Memorial flag they were presented with at their meeting on January 10, 2022.

Council also made a decision regarding how and when gifted flags will be on display. They decided that when a group is coming to visit, if they have given the Village their flag, it will be on display in council chambers.

WETT inspection services needed
Council directed administration to send a letter to the Regional District regarding the lack of WETT (Wood Energy Technology Transfer) inspection service in the valley. The Regional District will not allow the building inspector to conduct inspections on anything other than new construction. Council wants the Regional District to understand the hardship and expense this will cause for residents.

Goat River Trail grant support request
Council directed administration to provide the Fraser Headwaters Alliance with a letter of support to CNC Research Forest Society Legacy Fund for the Upgrading of the Historic Goat River Trail.

Exclusion from Ancient Forest planning
Council directed administration to send a letter to Minister of Parks, George Heyman regarding the Update on the Ancient Forest Management Planning Initiative they received. The letter stated that BC Parks is collaboratively working with Lheidli T’enneh First Nations on the management plan, and they will continue to work together for the next 2-3 years. Future public engagement sessions are tentatively planned for 2023.

Administration is to ensure the contents of the letter expresses how upset Council is that they (and McBride) were excluded from any discussions regarding the park. This letter is to also be sent to MLA Shirley Bond and the official opposition critic Greg Kyllo.

Code of Conduct
Council defeated the motion to adopt the Village of McBride Council and Appointee’s Code of Conduct Policy, AD-19. Council moved to have appointees taken out of the document altogether. Administration will complete this and return the amended policy to Council at a future meeting. Included in the motion for future consideration is the amended Village of McBride Oath of Office for elected officials. The phrase “I have read the Village of McBride Council Code of Conduct and will conduct myself by adhering to its standards and values” will be added.

Government conference planning
Council directed administration to book hotel rooms in advance for the registered council members for both the 2022 North Central Local Government Association AGM & Convention being held on May 3-6, 2022 at the Pomeroy Hotel & Conference Centre in Fort St. John and the 2022 Union of BC Municipalities Convention being held on September 12-16 at the Whistler Conference Centre. Council will be asked to confirm their attendance when the registration for each event draws near.

Letter to Premier
Council directed administration to start a letter to Premier John Horgan regarding the Old Growth Deferral situation. The letter needs to clearly state Council’s concerns and be strongly worded as job loss is inevitable as things stand. Also, they want a clear answer regarding the “value added” solutions and how that works for small communities. They want to illustrate the detrimental effect these decisions will have on McBride, neighbouring communities and First Nations within the Robson Valley. Administration will draft a letter then the Mayor and Council will have an opportunity to add more details and concerns if they see fit.

Caribou Recovery meeting
Council directed administration to register Mayor Runtz and Councillors Smith and Green for the Caribou Recovery Program Update to Stakeholders meeting on January 27, 2022.

New software for Village staff
Council approved administration to use iCompass “Meeting Manager Pro,” at a yearly cost of $4,950 for 2022, to be funded from the COVID Safe Restart Grant, and, going forward, the yearly subscription be included in the annual General Operating Budget for Council’s approval.

A decision regarding the purchase of i-pads was tabled for the next meeting.

Return to virtual meetings
Council agreed to the return to virtual meetings using Zoom. This decision will be reassessed on February 22, 2022 based on updated information from Administration.

TV Interview request
Members of Council have been approached by CKPG news out of Prince George requesting an interview about the Old Growth Forest Deferrals. The interview request is in response to a letter sent by the Village of McBride to Assistant Deputy Minister Faganello on December 13, 2021. The City of Prince George had also received a copy of the letter.

After some discussion, Council decided that Mayor Runtz will do the interview as his background in forestry will be useful. Prior to the interview, Council members will have an opportunity to discuss with the Mayor items they feel need to be addressed.

Council moved to proceed to an in-camera council meeting for consideration of matters per Section 90 (1) of the Community Charter related to: (i) the receipt of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose; and (k) negotiations and related discussions respecting the proposed provision of a municipal services that are in their preliminary stages and that, in the view of the council, could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality if they were held in public.

The regular meeting was adjourned at 10:17pm.