The Goat reached out to all those who put their names into the ring for the 2022 Municipal election. Valemount candidates have been acclaimed, however we felt it was important they too were able to introduce themselves to the community. The following information was written by the candidates hoping to outline what they see as important goals for their communities. – The following are the responses we received by presstime.

Lucille Green – Running for McBride Mayor

I am Lucille Green, a proud McBride resident for 27 years. I have served on Council for the last 5.5 years; I was Deputy Mayor for 12 months and filled the role of Acting Mayor for 6 months.  I am retiring from the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure at the end of this year.  My experiences as a Provincial Gov’t employee as well as my diploma in Civil & Structural Engineering Technology and as a Village Councillor have given me budgeting experience, legislative insight, and a wide range of valuable contacts throughout BC.  My experience in government has given me tools to effectively lobby the Provincial Government on issues important to our area.

I believe that the biggest issue facing the community is the availability of rental housing.  Lack of housing affects the community’s ability to attract and retain medical professionals and other much needed workforce. Without housing options, we are unable to entice new industry or to fill numerous vacant job positions. This affects the economic growth of the community and minimizes the ability of our health authorities to assist Local Seniors to age, with proper care, in their own community. The current council has been lobbying for more face-to-face provincial government services in McBride, and now that the BC Government is looking favourably to providing such services, the question arises: 

“Where do we house these needed government service providers?”

I’ve been talking about housing opportunities with businesses, industry, our First Nations neighbours and various levels of government officials in my capacity as Councillor and as a Board Member of the McBride and District Housing Society (MDHS).  I’m receiving positive interest in housing partnerships that would support MDHA’s applications for Provincial and Federal funding.  

There are opportunities to streamline development processes and to encourage new development within McBride by updating Zoning bylaws and the Official Community Plan.  I would like to create opportunities for more community input.

To ensure continuity for work already started and to be able to provide political influence to meet Council’s goals and community needs, please vote for me, Lucille Green for Mayor.

Gene Runtz – Running for McBride Mayor

About myself: I was born in Portland Oregon in 1947 to parents who both worked full time (mother a nurse, father a truck driver). Youngest of three children. BS in Forest Engineering from Oregon State University. 1970 married to Susi, first of two children born, infantry soldier in Viet Nam. 1972 moved to Port Alberni (Forest Engineering). 1977 Iran. 1979 Registered Professional Forester, coastal BC., 1985 to present – McBride as Forest Consultant.  President of Elks for two decades. Love gardening and sports.

Biggest Issue:  Lack of good paying jobs.  With more money, many but not all issues will take care of themselves. The way – Promote and assist the local mills to expand and evolve.  Example 1:  Raj has done a fabulous job at BKB expanding in employment and product line, but he must move more into cedar specialty lumber products in the next 10 years to compete in the future. Help him to do so. Example 2:  Jerry Smith has done a great job in Post and Rail and has worked tirelessly to promote Bioenergy (Boreal Bioenergy). Sounds like this project will go in the short term as a black pellet research facility. We should all know more in the next month. The facility is easily expandable and takes every wood type. Example 3: Forest Recreation is huge here but is still an infant compared to possibilities. Example 4: Hydro power: Large but can be expanded differently.

Comments: I am not running to beat another person.  I am running to change the attitude, for people to feel good about themselves. This election is not about me or council. It is about us, we, all of us, you and me as a team. I am looking forward to seeing everyone as I come door to door. I want to know your concerns and hopes. Together we are a power. Example: Look how the Elks and Royal Purple are a powerhouse and get things done.

Kat Vickery – Running for McBride Councillor

I am thrilled to be living and working in McBride in the beautiful Robson Valley.  My wonderful husband Fred and I moved there in November 2021 from Lytton, BC. I am eager to learn more about my new community and I want to work with all stakeholders to make a great community even better.  

So far, I have been involved with McBride’s Elks/Royal Purple, Community Market, Community Garden, OAPO, Hospital Auxiliary, the RV Arts and Culture Council, the RVCS seniors’ group, the RV Entertainment Association, Chamber events, the community Christmas dinner and the Anglican/United Church. I feel very fortunate to have moved to such a vibrant community full of marvelous, charitable, talented people.

I am the stepmother to Fred’s two outstanding sons and step-grandmother to two amazing granddaughters. I have been a teacher for over 30 years and have taught K through Gr.12, and in Japan and in China. Unfortunately, I have had five back surgeries and am unable to work full-time now but am thoroughly enjoying working with the students of McBride and Valemount as a Teacher-on-Call.

I love to travel, meet people and learn about other cultures. I graduated from UBC with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre with a concentration in History. I completed my teacher training, also at UBC, in the Multicultural Teacher Education Programme. I studied visual arts at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. My areas of expertise are History, Drama and Visual Arts.  

What I have seen in my brief time in McBride is that the community would need to attract industry to supply job opportunities, provide low-income housing for an aging population, employ a full-time pharmacist, create easier access to government services, and repair roads and sidewalks. I would do my best to advocate to make these things a reality. Tourism opportunities and improved infrastructure could be strengthened throughout the Robson Valley.  Attracting and retaining skilled workers, providing homes and securing financial resources are essential for businesses. Sharing knowhow and resources through partnerships with all the local governments along Highway 16 will strengthen our capacity to support us all.

Allan Frederick – Running for McBride Councillor

My name is Allan Frederick and I have lived in the Village and area for over 22 years. I served on Village Council for two terms from 2002 to 2008 as well as the last term from 2018 to present. My background includes over 30 years of banking experience as well as many years of local business operations. I have served on the McBride & District Volunteer Fire Department for over 20 years. I am a member of the local Royal Canadian Legion and formerly a member of the Chamber of Commerce. I have served on several of the committees of Council and have been the McBride Representative to the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George for the last four years.

I believe that my experience and commitment to the duties of Council will help in forwarding OUR community with consistency to the plans laid out by the present Village Council. We need to use the input and suggestions from our committee members and the public as well in moving forward in a positive and progressive manner. 

Our community has limited industry and tax revenues to work with, so we need to try and attract industry to the community and area to help us move forward and maintain the services for the Village.

Presently some of our challenges are housing for any work force that we can attract as well as a seniors housing facility. 

Our infrastructure is aging and requires upgrades and/or expensive maintenance in the future. Another issue for our area is the connectivity or internet services locally. Grants are a large part and important tool for the community.

Village Council benefits from experience in tandem with a willingness to learn and listen and a commitment to be part of a valuable and hardworking team for the future. In the past four years of my being your Village Councillor I have attended all but one of the Regularly Scheduled meetings and I hope to continue to work hard for OUR community for the next four years with your support.

Diane Smith – Running for Councillor

I moved to McBride in 2007, a newcomer compared to many.

I love living here and it is my home. I have been on several committees.

I appreciate the “heart” of the people who live here. It is unlike anywhere I have lived before. People here have worked very hard to make this rural/remote area as diverse as it is.

These past four years have been a huge learning curve for me. I have been committed to my position as councillor, trying to make knowledgeable, informed, fair and honest decisions on behalf of the village taxpayer.

Because of a knee problem I will not be going door-to-door. I can come to you or you are welcome at my home.

I hope people vote for me for continuity, experience, and commitment that was definitely given by councillors that held things together during some challenging times.

1. Healthcare was a common thread at UBCM for all communities. We are much more fortunate here than other places but we must keep lobbying the government and the healthcare authority to make things better.

2. Another commonality is housing. Living Legacies being offered by Doug and Christine Monroe. My heart is with the seniors. They deserve to live out their lives “at home” in a great facility.

We have a housing committee that is looking at increased housing in McBride. Both these opportunities create other housing being freed up for sale or rent as folks move into other spaces. I offer my wholehearted support to both projects.

Joe Kolida – Running for McBride Councillor

I would like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Joe Kolida, born and raised, and lifelong resident of the beautiful town of McBride.

With a tremendous amount of consideration and encouragement, I have decided to follow in my father’s (Steve Kolida’s) footsteps and participate in the future of our town by running for Councillor within town office.

If elected, I’ll ensure to bring the issues to light that the citizens of McBride wish to have addressed. I vow to be transparent, approachable and support solutions to increase the economic growth and viability the town of McBride needs, by creating ways to promote and support our existing small businesses and to encourage a place where new businesses can proudly build their foundational roots.

With this vision, I strongly believe our town will thrive with new employment, educational opportunities, new development in housing, healthcare and improved infrastructure to support this growth. 

By continually working closely with the Chamber of Commerce and interest groups, to create a place that is inclusive to all people. I want to promote our outdoor and scenic values and ensure they are accessible to the elderly and people with disabilities. Recreational and tourism opportunities could lead to wide open adventures, from town to surrounding forests, rivers, lakes, and our exquisite mountain tops.

Together we can grow and secure the values that are so deeply embedded and proudly displayed in the town we fondly refer to as home, the town of McBride.

Glen Frear – Running for McBride Councillor

I have lived in McBride for more than 40 years, ever since I came to visit family after graduation. My father grew up here and the village has felt like home from the moment I stepped off the train. I have been involved in the community for many years, serving on the boards of the Arts Council, Valley Museum and Archives, the Whistlestop Gallery and participating in the vintage car portion of Pioneer Days. When I worked for the highways I was the shop steward and safety officer and was on the bargaining committee. I have also driven logging trucks, worked for BC ambulance for 35 years and recently retired from the Village of McBride public works. I am also a moderately successful artist with a few public art works scattered around the valley.

I believe the largest issue facing our community is the aging infrastructure and the increasing demands being put upon it. Having worked in public works I have an insight into some of the problem areas and can work to target the critical spots.

The largest opportunity, I believe, is the recent trend for people to relocate here. We have a beautiful location, well placed with short travel times to larger centres and with many 

of the amenities that make a community livable. I offer a thoughtful and positive can-do approach.

Some things I would like to work towards are: a filtration system for the water treatment to minimize boil water advisories, address the old chevron property, work towards business-friendly development policies and timely decisions, and review current bylaws so that they reflect the values of the community and are not overly restrictive. I would value the input of the various organizations in the valley, for we are all in this together.

Pietro Caputo – Running for McBride Councilor

I’m a lifelong resident of McBride and an immigrant from Italy. I’m an electrician and tradesperson and I built the home I live in, as well as many of the other homes in the community, so I’d say I’m invested in McBride’s future. Along with a few friends, I built the Castle Mountain hydro dam, which helps power our community. These days, I spend most of my time working on big infrastructure projects across the country.
Since the closure of the sawmills, we haven’t seen a lot of industry invest in McBride. I want to focus on getting outside investment and drawing young families to the community. Our young people left McBride, and it’s time for us to keep the ones we have and bring others back. The McBride I want is a youthful, vibrant community.
Part of the solution is encouraging industry to invest in well-paying jobs for young people. Large-scale production with resources like hydrogen is perfectly suited to the Robson Valley. We have to make the community livable, with more outdoor tourism with mountain biking, hiking, and snowmobiling. I want more events, like Pioneer Days or the Robson Valley Music Festival.
There’s opportunity for more inter-community cooperation. We’re all feeling the pinch, whether it’s more housing or better jobs, and I see potential for us to work with people across the Robson Valley. I’m thinking specifically of those councilors in Valemount, who have similar challenges and opportunities as us and also want to see a vibrant and young workforce and community.
I want to establish a working group where we meet with interested communities or regional directors, and together, we can be more active in asking the Province and outside industry for investment.
The future for McBride is in drawing investment and building upon the things that make us special. McBride will never be a big urban centre, and we don’t want it to be. What makes McBride special is the close-knit community that I’ve grown up with. As we encourage more outside investors, young families will return and McBride will look a lot more like itself.