By Andrea Arnold

The November 28th McBride Council meeting was called to order by Mayor Gene Runtz at 7:04.

The reading and adoption of the minutes from a special council meeting held on November 22nd included the following items.

Notes from previous meetings

Council approved that Mayor and Council together with the Chief Administrative Officer, Director of Finance, and Finance Coordinator (Eugene Runtz, Tina Bennett, Pietro Caputo, Glen Frear, Randy (Joe) Kolida, Jeanette McDougall, Sandra Salt, and Sherri Flynn) be authorized as signing officers for the Village of McBride Municipal Finance Authority Investment Accounts. Council also approved a fund transfer of $750,000 from the NBC PHISA to the Scotiabank General Chequing Account and authorized Finance Coordinator Sherri Flynn and Director of Finance Sandra Salt to digitally sign and execute the transfer.

Council also approved the purchase of fencing for the cemetery to the maximum of $20,000 from the Cemetery Fence & Row Marker account. They authorized Councillor Kolida, as a member of the Cemetary Fencing Committee, and/or Caputo to make the purchase on the Village’s behalf and be reimbursed for associated costs.

Following the in Camera portion of the meeting, council brought forward their approval regarding the hiring for the position of Public Works Manager with a salary range of $90,000-$100,000. The job would be posted at a later date.

Health services update

Kim Nordli, Health Services Administrator presented to council via zoom. She gave an overview of the recent renovations at the McBride and District Hospital, as well as some information regarding current staffing and plans for recruitment. See page 2 for the full story.

Men’s Shed

Terry Winkler, President of the McBride Men’s Shed spoke to Council about what the group is all about. They are men helping men and helping the community. Winkler said the group serves many purposes. It is a safe place for men of all ages to bond and work together on meaningful projects, work on their physical and mental health, combating loneliness, learn and teach new skills and help out the community. Winkler gave examples of some of the Men’s Shed projects that have been successful in other communities. They repair appliances and have set up a thrift store. They have built garden beds and wheelchair ramps for seniors, helped people move, built small structures when needed. In one community they built wooden birdhouse kits and took them to the local seniors complex to complete with some of the Alzheimer’s patients. The seniors who rarely spoke were soon working hard and sharing stories of projects from their past. The local girl guides asked for some of the birdhouses to assemble, paint and sell as a fundraiser. At this time, the group of 12 is meeting at RVCS twice a month, but they would like to have a space of their own that has space for socializing, a workshop and a thrift store.

Winkler asked Council to please keep them in mind as they look for a space, and for support in finding grant options.

Scotiabank closure

Rick Thompson expressed gratitude to Council for the letter that was sent to Scotiabank regarding the closure of the McBride branch. He pointed out that a leaflet distributed by Scotiabank said a town hall meeting would be a part of the closure process. He urged council to address this statement and request a public meeting regarding their moving the branch to a “convenient location,” in PG. Mayor Runtz said he agreed with the idea of a meeting because he believes that many members of the community would have things to say. He also thought that representatives of other banking institutions should be invited to the meeting as well, to show clearly how much a banking option is needed.

2024 meeting schedule

Council approved the 2024 Regular Council meeting schedule.

Airport fuel

Council directed staff to prepare an application to BC Air Access funding program for a project to replace the aging and non-compliant fuel system at McBride’s airport with a dual Av gas and Jet Fuel cardlock system. The change would allow for better tracking of usage, and eliminate the need to send out bills in order to receive payment of fuel. Council asked that staff bring cost estimates before council in December for a resolution of support prior to submission.

Council training

Administration asked council if there was interest in holding another shortened Council training/orientation as a refresher as well as provide new Councillor Tina Bennett with initial training. Council said that yes, if there is the opportunity they would appreciate it.

In camera

Council proceeded to an in camera council meeting for consideration of matters of the Community Charter related to Section 90 (1) (c) labour relations or other employee relations, and (d) the security of the property of the municipality. 

The regular council meeting was recessed at 8:05pm to conduct the In-Camera meeting.