By Andrea Arnold

The McBride council meeting on Tuesday June 25, 2024 provided Council with a presentation from a UNBC research team, an update on the Robson Valley Legacies housing development and allowed them to vote on the hydrant painting project presented at the previous meeting.

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 pm by Mayor Gene Runtz.

UNBC Research Presentation

Joseph Shea, a representative from a group of researchers and students from UNBC presented to Council on their “Community Adaptation to Changing Mountain Snowpacks and Geohazards” project, funded by Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS).

The group has been working with the Regional District, the Village of Valemount, Community Forests and Ministry of Forests researchers. Shea said much of the focus in the McBride area has been around water. 

The focus of the project is on the vulnerability of community water systems, trends in observed and modelled snowpacks and how accurate real time observations for data showing temperature, humidity, wind speed, snow depth, soil moisture and others can be obtained.

The group would like to install a real time weather station on Lucille Mountain possibly around an elevation of 2000m or so. The group has already installed a similar station at the base of the Valemount Community Ski Hill. These stations can also help with avalanche and wildfire risk forecasting.

The group also wants to conduct alpine snow depth surveys for areas affecting the Dominion Creek watershed using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), as well as investigate snow storage potential in adjacent watersheds.

Shea said that the group would like input from the Village as they proceed with their research.

Councillor Joe Kolida stated that the more data that can be collected the better, and that he is sure there are community members that would be helpful to hear from on the matter of the location for the weather station. Mayor Runtz said that what they are doing is exciting.

Robson Valley Legacies update

The second presentation of the evening was from Doug Monroe, on behalf of the Robson Valley Legacies senior housing development.

Monroe began by thanking the council for the invitation to come provide an update. He said that they have been working to create an aggregate and concrete product that will allow them to construct wall panels within their facility in preparation for construction. Testing of this product is in the final stages of analysis.

Both Monroe, and Profor employee Keith MacMaster are ACI certified Concrete Field-testing Technicians as well as PCI Level 1 and Level 2 Quality Control Technician/Inspectors. This means Profor will be eligible for production for the concrete components for commercial purposes.

They have secured two local sources for their sand and gravel aggregate needs, as well as the specialized equipment needed to manufacture the product. They have also been stockpiling construction materials in anticipation of a 2024 start. 

A home on an adjacent property that has been purchased as part of the project is currently being used as a rental for healthcare professionals, and there are plans to renovate a portion into a kitchen for a senior based meals on wheels program.

Monroe hopes to have permits in place to begin construction of the first four-plex structure later this year. 

Council received the presentation and expressed interest at the progress and future potential of the overall project.

Fire hydrant project

Council approved the Whistle Stop Gallery’s request to paint fire hydrants using summer student employees as long as the painting does not interfere with the function of the hydrants. Councillor Kolida asked CAO Jeanette McDougall if the fire department had been consulted to make sure functionality of the hydrants would not be impacted. She said she would check into it.

Council then voted to proceed 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.

The other two in-camera items listed were struck from the agenda, no reason given.

The regular council meeting was recessed at 6:38pm.