By Andrea Arnold
The McBride Community Consultation Committee is working together and hopefully along with the Regional District of Fraser Fort-George to return oversight and governance of the arena, curling rink and community hall back to the community.
Dale Stephens presented at the McBride Council meeting on Feb 14 on behalf of the committee, and requested a letter of support for this current initiative.
Currently, the operation of these facilities are handled directly by the Regional District. This has been the case for some time, with a manager on site to implement procedures.
Stephens gave a history of how the community hall and arena have been managed and how it is currently being run, through Regional District management. He pointed out that the McBride centres are the only ones in the district being run in this manner. At this point, there is no onsite manager following the retirement of Lyle Lewis at the end of June 2022. There have been two calls for manager applications, but no one has been hired so far.
In the past year there have been instances when decisions were made by the RDFFG that negatively impacted some of the user groups that have historically used the facilities.
Stephens said that agreements affecting both the Old Age Pensioners Organization and the Curling Club were drastically changed and re-presented with no consultation with members of the groups and resulted in public outcry. Stephens and the committee believe that the decisions around these actions were made by people who are not present in the community and do not see the impact that the changes could have.
The group is working on consulting with user groups and members of the public to figure out what their next best course of action is.
Stephens said that one of the ways of bringing the management back to the community is to form a non-profit organization to maintain governance for the facilities. This could result in lower insurance costs and in turn, lower rental fees allowing the public to have more access to the spaces.
The committee has a meeting scheduled with Regional District CAO Jim Martin in March. Martin will be bringing with him examples of how the non-profit format is working in other parts of the region.
Dannielle Alan was present at the meeting and was asked to provide a statement. She said she was in favour of the proposed changes and that she would like to see the community work with the Regional District, not in opposition.