Summing it up - Grand Forks City Council

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
November 23rd, 2009

Grand Forks City Council had some interesting discussions at their meeting on Monday, Nov. 16. In the primary committee meeting they dealt with a report on wood stoves within the city limits, but first they presented Betty Brussel with a certificate of commendation for her successful participation in the 2009 World Masters Games in Sydney, Australia. Brussel, an 85-year-old swimmer brought home medals from six different categories after competing in the games. Brussel won three golds in the 400 metre freestyle, 200 metre breaststroke, and one relay; two silvers in the 800 freestyle and one relay; and a bronze in the 200 metre backstroke. Mayor Brian Taylor did the honours of presenting Mrs. Brussel with her certificate.

On the topic of wood stoves, Councillor Chris Moslin presented a report from the Boundary Air Quality Committee (BAQC) recommending that the city consider adopting the re-drafted bylaw which would regulate the installation and use of wood burning appliances within the city limits. Key changes from past drafts presented to the council included clearer definitions, a strongly worded clause regarding use of wood burning appliances during times of an air quality advisory and restrictions on the installation of new appliances. Councillors questioned how the city will enforce the bylaw and the problems people may encounter in trying to comply, particularly senior citizens.

“The whole intent of the bylaw is to protect older people by allowing them to have a healthier environment, by having our community pull together to have a healthier atmosphere. It’s not right for somebody to pollute the atmosphere in order to save a few dollars,” said Moslin.

Concerns were also raised about the regional district’s commitment to the problems within the air shed.

“What we are doing then is imposing or trying to educate those within the boundaries of the city proper from contributing to air pollution. But there is nothing happening in the outlying areas that will also improve air quality. There’s no regulations so what they (people in the rural areas) do negatively impacts the environment as well,” said Councillor Christine Thompson.

The entire council debated the content of the bylaw before defeating the motion to receive the report. Moslin advised that the BAQC will be sending another report forward at the next possible time.

During the question period, Sylvia Treptow, local resident, presented council with a petition signed by 152 people requesting that council stop talking about medical marijuana. The request is: that council not entertain any discussion about the topic for the remainder of their term in office as well as not spending tax dollars or resources on the issue.

Regular Meeting of Council:

Council voted to reroute traffic on 5 Street which will be closed to northbound traffic and become a one-way street south of 72 Avenue (the corner at Selkirk College). Northbound traffic will be directed to 4 Street for access to 72 Ave.

After a round of discussion about an invitation from Muping District in China to enter into a sister city relationship with Grand Forks, the council decided to postpone any potential visit to the country until the spring of 2010. The motion to travel was withdrawn in order to be able to revisit the possibility again at any time.

Lastly, council discussed a late agenda item for an alternate approval process to finance equipment required for the new garbage services and an electric truck. The alternate approval process allows for elector response to entering into a lease-purchase agreement and borrowing method through the Municipal Finance Authority. If 10 per cent of those authorized to vote (property owners) petition against the proposed financing arrangement, then the city would have to seek other financing options. The council supported the process. The total number of electors in the city was determined to be a total of 2668. If 267 residents register their vote against the financing plan it will be considered defeated. Electors can sign the petition at city hall until Jan. 5, 2010.

“The alternate approval process is being put forward to the electorate. This will not preclude the purchases from going forward if 10 per cent of electors oppose the financing. The purchases will remain, but this is the recommended financing over the long- term so that the impact on finances will not be significant,” said Councillor Christine Thompson.

Categories: Politics

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