SUMMING IT UP: Flowers, garbage and solar energy at Grand Forks city council

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
April 1st, 2010

Flowers, solar energy, and garbage topped the list of topics at the last meeting of Grand Forks City Council on Monday Mar. 29. The meeting included both a primary meeting and a regular meeting. Delegations from the Boundary Museum Society and local business owner Martin Campbell opened the meeting. The Museum Society provided an update on their work in the new location at Fructova and their anticipated opening date in May. Campbell presented his case for a refund of his payment to council in lieu of parking. Campbell said that the downtown merchants had purchased a lot for parking and as a result no downtown merchant should have been made to pay additional parking costs. Both delegations were received for information.

Community archives

While the agenda items were limited, many of the topics which caused detailed discussion were introduced through councillors’ reports. Councillor Christine Thompson is the liaison with the Grand Forks Art Gallery. At the time that council returned the care and custody of the museum artifacts back over to the Boundary Museum Society, the wording of the motion did not address the community archives which have continued to be housed at the art gallery in an old vault.

“These items are community treasures. I don’t want the city to be dictating to the art gallery that that is where they’re going to be. That is, in my opinion, the preferred location. If we were to be able to communicate that to the art gallery society, it would, with the concurrence of their board of directors, allow the three parties to sit down together and work out the details,” said Thompson.

After some discussion, council voted to return custody of the archives to the Boundary Museum Society, but deferred a motion to suggest a preferred location for storing the archives until the two societies could meet to discuss options.

Hanging baskets

Councillor Michael Wirischagin suggested in a motion that to continue to improve the curb appeal of the city, and in light of the fact that the hanging basket program is difficult to manage, that the city invest in street banners. He proposed two sets of banners for summer and winter.

“Last year, as well as this year, we’ve been unable to afford the hanging baskets which has, to me, put a damper on how beautiful the boulevards in Grand Forks truly are,” said Wirischagin. “I’ve been trying to figure out solutions that we could do as a city to add the curb appeal that we’ve lost in the last two years. I noticed that when the Olympic banners went up it added a spark, a glitter to the streets. So I would like to see new street banners.”

Councillor Joy Davies said that the economic development task force will be bringing an item forward at a presentation to council about this topic and requested that the motion be deferred until after that presentation.

Deer committee

Mayor Brian Taylor reported on a recent meeting of the deer management committee. At the last meeting a representative from the Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) made a presentation to discuss opportunities for collaboration, and potentially even funding for the work of the committee. The committee has agreed to move forward with an education program for the community, continuation of the deer count for monitoring population, exploring the purchase of signs which can be moved around the community and used to promote awareness, and a deer feeding bylaw still to be developed.

Solar energy grant

Council approved a motion to put forward an application for the city to be recognized as a solar community. Solar BC has announced the opportunity to become a “Solar City” and receive $5,000 in funding towards solar projects and initiatives. With the work already completed by the economic development task force around solar energy initiatives including a solar energy forum last fall, this grant will give the city the chance to work more on the initiative and collaborate with other community agencies interested in the establishment of solar energy systems.

Garbage Fees

Council passed the first, second and third readings of a new bylaw to increase garbage fees across the community as a result of the new agreement with Alpine Disposal and Recycling (Interior Division) Ltd. The total cost per month per residence will be $9.00, an increase of $1.00 per month over last year’s fees.

Categories: Politics