By Andrea Arnold
Deputy Mayor Diane Smith convened Tuesday, September 28. McBride council meeting at 7 p.m. Mayor Runtz was not present.
Robert Collins Jr. addressed council with concerns about fines imposed on residents, many of whom are aging, for their failure to clear snow or maintain their property to bylaw standards. He volunteers his time to help his neighbors clear the snow. He discussed the condition of the sidewalk along Second Avenue and how it should have been replaced years ago when work was going on on the street. He also expressed concern that the telephone line entering his house was weak and had been pulled by passing trucks.
Community hall, proposal for local governance of the leisure center
Dale Stevens spoke on behalf of the Robson Valley Community Consultation Committee. Committee member Sheilagh Foster and Area H RDFFG representative Dannelle Alan were also on hand to support him. They came with the request to have a letter of support as the committee proposes a change in the governance of the community hall and recreation center, returning governance to the people of the valley.
The committee believes that there has been a deterioration in the management of the community hall and arena over the past few years. The committee says the Regional District guidelines have recently been taken as edicts. Stevens said regional districts are meant to be consensus organizations, making decisions based on what communities want. It was not the case.
Since Lyle Lewis retired, no new manager has been hired for the area. Stevens has confirmation that there were locals who applied for the position, but they were eliminated in the first round of interviews. There are concerns that if they don’t find someone for the job, the regional district could start managing using a different method and not have someone in town.
Stevens says the budget has lately been presented as final, with no opportunity for discussion or consultation. When the curling club’s lease was up for renewal, the RDFFG made drastic changes to the agreement. For example, the Recreation Center Retirees Association’s user agreement has been removed. After the backlash from the group and the community, membership in the group was restored to a higher amount.
None of those decisions were made after consultation with the Robson Valley Community Advisory Committee or the facility manager, Stevens said.
A new sound system in the hall has been on the list of improvements for five years. Stevens was repeatedly told that it would be remedied. However, when the budget was rolled out, the PA system was not included. It was only recently, under pressure from the committee, that funds for the system were released by the regional district, and progress is being made.
Stevens said the decision not to install ice was made by Prince George even though they knew the parts wouldn’t be delivered until the spring. Reservations and purchases are also made in Prince George.
The committee plans to consult with staff, the public, user groups and council during the process of proposing that a local not-for-profit organization guide decisions on these two properties and bring them back to the community. They say the change will mean better local input into decisions and lower costs for residents to use the hall.
Council asked staff to write a letter in support of the proposal, prior to the election and the new councilors taking their seats.
Council has decided to retroactively purchase two bags of coffee for each of the ministers they meet at the 2022 Union of British Columbia Municipalities Conference.
Flood mapping and mitigation
Council moved to rescind resolution 1207263.22 and adopt the following similar motion directing staff to prepare a joint application and cost estimate, in consultation with the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George and member municipalities. (The previous resolution was for an independent candidacy). If successful, the community would use the money for a project that would include flood hazard mapping, risk assessments and mitigation strategies for the Fraser River, Shelby Creek and Dominion Creek. The Board directed staff to prepare the application and bring it back to the Board for consideration at a future meeting before submitting it to UBCM’s Disaster Risk Reduction – Climate Adaptation Program by the next receipt in February 2023.
water park moose
The Board decided to support the recommendation of the Community Revitalization and Beautification Committee that a Water Park Steering Committee be formed as soon as possible in order to capitalize on community momentum for the project. Council also voted to direct staff to develop Terms of Reference for a Splash Park Steering Committee to be presented to Council at a future meeting.
New Deputy Chief Electoral Officer for 2022 Election
The Board has offered to remove Chief Executive Tupy as Deputy Chief Electoral Officer as he is unable to perform his duties due to circumstances beyond his control. Council proposed to appoint Finance Coordinator Sherry Flynn to the position of Deputy Chief Electoral Officer for the 2022 municipal election year. $ was included in the nomination. However, since Finance Coordinator Flynn’s pay scale is different from that of General Manager Tupy and allows for overtime, Councilor Green offered to take the $1,000 out of the job. The board voted in favor of the action.
Development Exemption Permit
Council instructed staff to send notices to landowners adjacent to 510 Dominion, as required by the Local Government Act, before bringing back the proposed Development Variance Permit for final review and approval by Council. . The request is to increase the maximum authorized area of the accessory building from 70 square meters to 114 square meters to allow for the construction of a 400 square foot addition to an accessory building.
The Board approved the transfer of $1,500,000 from the NBC Northern Capital Planning Grant reserve account PHIS for capital expenditures, to the Scotiabank General Current Account, and in addition, the Board approved authorized General Manager Tupy to digitally sign the transfer transaction on behalf of the Board.
Council proposed to proceed with a closed meeting of Council to consider Community Charter matters related to Section 90(1)(c) labor or other employee relations;
(e) the acquisition, alienation or expropriation of land or improvements, if the council considers that the disclosure could reasonably be harmful to the interests of the municipality; (g) litigation or potential litigation affecting the municipality; (i) receipt of advice subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose; (k) negotiations and related discussions concerning the proposed provision of a municipal service which are in their preliminary stages and which, in the opinion of council, could reasonably be expected to adversely affect the interests of the municipality if held in audience; (o) consideration of whether the power under section 91 [other persons attending closed meetings] must be exercised in connection with a board meeting.
The public portion of the meeting adjourned at 7:47 p.m.