This open letter to Mayor Brian Taylor was submitted by Grand Forks resident Julia Butler.
Dear Mayor Taylor
At the council meeting on March 10, I presented council with a letter from Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development stating, “I assure you that the Province of British Columbia does not require local governments to build new assets before applying for funding. You commented on the installation of water meters,...”
Your council has repeatedly stated that you feel we must install water meters in order to secure this funding to help fix our aging infrastructure. You were obviously not convinced by Coralee Oak’s letter and again asserted that water meters were necessary for funding.
I was curious to see if other communities without water meters were receiving Gas Tax Funding so I looked it up. At the last council meeting on March 24 I asked council if they were aware of Cranbrook’s large Gas Tax Grant that they received for their sewer system.
Cranbrook, although they voted at referendum not to borrow money to install the meters, was still awarded a grant for waste management.
It’s surprising that they weren’t told to install meters and reduce their water consumption and therefore their sewage, before receiving money to improve their infrastructure. This is the link for your reference.
On this same site I quickly found two other meter-free cities that have also received Gas Tax Grants. The Gas Tax Fund Agreement Schedule A states that Gas Tax money can be used for “Developing or upgrading drinking water systems to improve water quality and reduce water use, increase energy efficiency, and secure water supply in the face of drought” and “community energy systems (wind, solar, thermal, geothermal, etc.)” among other things.
I also asked at the last council meeting, if you had considered adapting our water pumps to run off of the abundant solar power we have available at our peak watering time in the summer months. With so many innovative options available to us, couldn’t we put our 1.3 million in Gas Tax funding to a more constructive use?
Awaiting Your Reply,
Julia Butler – Grand Forks