Summing it up - Grand Forks City Council - UPDATED

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
March 15th, 2010

Grand Forks City Councillor Chris Moslin sat in the Mayor’s chair at their last meeting on Mar. 8 on behalf of Mayor Brian Taylor who was away. The regular meeting of council dealt with a number of ongoing business items including the proposed multi-use sports field, notice of motion to move the location of the proposed dog park, an update on the city trail project, a decision on the extension of the garbage services contract, the final reading of the five-year financial plan, and the approval of a grant request for age-friendly community planning.

Multi-use sports field:

At the last city council meeting in February, council rescinded their decision to proceed with a proposed multi-use sports field to be built in City Park. The decision to rescind was based on details provided by staff that indicated costs might be higher than expected. The item was referred back to staff, and a report received on Mar. 8 from staff did not give council enough information for them to make a final decision.

The key item of contention at this point is where to locate the field. Staff suggested in their report to council that the field could be created in collaboration with the school district at Grand Forks Senior Secondary (GFSS) school grounds. This would be advantageous by allowing the field to be built to international standards for rugby, and that future maintenance would be the responsibility of the school district.

Councillor Michael Wirischagin indicated his initial reasons for the field to be located in city park were still valid, and that timing is important so that the field could be done and used as soon as possible.

“We need to move forward with this at some given point. I think it is unfair to the people involved in this, people that have come to terms with the idea that they were going to have City Park just for us to pull it back from under them. It leaves them in limbo once again,” said Wirischagin. “People have to remember the Boundary Wanderers (rugby team) already play at GFSS, if they thought it was such a good place to play why wouldn’t they want to stay? I can’t say I’m pleased with that (tabling the decision until April 6.)”

Further discussion revealed that even if city works staff were able to start preparations for the field this spring, the field would not be ready for use this season. As a result, Councillor Christine Thompson suggested that they should take the time to make the best decision possible.

“The decision that we have to make, we have to make for the benefit of the community as a whole. We’re talking multi-use field. If we have an opportunity to maximize the funds that we have available to us by entering into a partnership with School District 51, then I think that is something we need to seriously look at,” said Thompson. “I would like to give staff the opportunity to do some additional research on this. Until we have all of the information I think that we would be remiss once again in just moving forward on something that we don’t have all of the information required to make a well-informed decision.”

A motion was made and carried to refer the matter back to staff again for more information, in particular to find out if the School District 51 would permit beer gardens on their property before making a decision on location for the field. Wirischagin registered his opposition to the motion.

Dog park:

During his report, Moslin gave notice of motion to council that the location of the dog park in City Park will be on the table at their next meeting. In reviewing the proposed location the group has determined that it would be better located at the south end of the BMX track.

After reviewing the situation with staff and the dog park association, it has been suggested that the future dog park be located at the south end of the BMX track. In that way, it would not impose on any residences and would help develop trails into the shoreline. The motion coming up at the March 22nd meeting of Council is actually an amendment of an earlier motion to put the dog park at the north end of the BMX track,” explained Moslin.

City trails project:

Moslin provided an update on the trails project that is being funded by the federal Recreation Infrastructure Canada program (RINC). The engineered drawings are not available yet, but they have been working on the design for the south end of the Black Train Bridge and come to an agreement with International Forest Products Ltd. to move their fence to allow a platform at the top of a ramp down to the path heading towards Ruckle.

The engineers are also in the midst of the design of the 9 Street access from 72 Avenue. It will include a series of drained, paved switchbacks to the top of the hill. The other area they are working on is the trail where it meets the highway near Donaldson Drive. Moslin invited the public to provide any ideas for these areas to him for consideration.

Garbage services and financial plan:

Council voted to extend their existing contract with Alpine Disposal and Recycling (Interior Division) Ltd. for a period of one year ending in June 2011. The contract will be at a cost of $115,008 plus taxes and includes the collection of residential solid waste and yard waste. The proposed increase in garbage collection fees will cover the contract cost, plus the increased tipping fees charged at the landfill.

The fourth and final reading of the five-year financial plan was passed by council. The property tax bylaw will now have to be adopted at a subsequent meeting.


Among the correspondence items presented to council were two items of interest: request for a letter of support from Corus Custom Networks, a division of Corus Entertainment, for their application to the CRTC for a licence to operate a new TV channel in Grand Forks. The proposed new network, called Local1, will bring a mix of hyper-local community information to its viewers around the clock. Visit www.mylocal1.ca for information.

A petition from home owners in the area of the old Hardy View Lodge was presented to council. The home owners are concerned about a proposal to use the lodge for a homeless shelter. Residents, represented in a letter from Carol Kusch, stated that the people in the neighborhood do not want a shelter located nearby. They are concerned for safety of children and seniors, and are worried that property values might deteriorate. The petition and letter were referred to the Public Safety Focus Committee headed by Councillor Gene Robert.

Age-friendly community planning grant:

Council approved a proposal written for a grant for the community garden – senior friendly phase. The granting program is available to municipalities through the Union of B.C. Municipalities. There is funding of up to $20,000 available for comprehensive age-friendly projects or activities, including ones that focus on community support and health services. The application deadline was Mar. 12, and the application put forward provides support for the community gardens project to create accommodations for seniors including: raised garden plots, underground irrigation for their plots, and convenient plot design so people in wheelchairs can reach their plants easily.

Categories: Politics