SUMMING IT UP: Grand Forks City Council

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
January 24th, 2011

Grand Forks city council held their first meeting of 2011 on Jan. 17. With no delegations and not many major issues facing them, they covered a fair bit of ground in a short time.  Deer relocation program shelved  The potential deer relocation program that council voted in favour of at their last meeting has been squashed. The proposed program was suggested to the Grand Forks deer committee by Brian Harris, a member of the committee representing the Ministry of Environment (MOE). Harris had told the committee that the province was considering such a program and the City of Grand Forks agreed to be a pilot community.  Councillor Chris Moslin, part of the deer committee for the city, said that the province has decided not to proceed with the program, and so Grand Forks will need to look for other population control options.  “There seems to be a reluctance to get involved by the provincial government when they realized that so many municipalities are impacted. There needs to be a much greater role for MOE and the provincial government in this challenge.”  Moslin said that they are still waiting for a response to their letter to the Minister asking for the pilot program. The intent of the committee, said Moslin, is to reach out to other impacted communities to try to force action from the provincial government to assist in the local urban wildlife problems.  “I just don’t think we can do it all by ourselves,” said Moslin.  Sports field back on the council table  It has been six months since council defeated a motion to build a multi-use sports field in City Park, and Councillor Michael Wirischagin has given notice that he has not forgotten the idea. Wirischagin gave council notice that he will be reintroducing the plan at their next meet of council on Jan. 31.  Downtown business owners survey  City staff reported back to council on a recent survey of downtown business owners. The survey was conducted to explore options for bicycle parking, restaurant sidewalk seating, closing Market Avenue to be a pedestrian only zone, and other ideas for pedestrian amenities. There were only six responses received to the survey, and council was reluctant to take action based on the low number received.  “Rather than analyzing six responses, and there were some interesting ideas, the question is what is the next step?” commented Mayor Brian Taylor. “We need to meet with the downtown merchants in an organized fashion and bring a focus group to look at this issue.”  Staff was directed to explore a way for council to talk with the area’s business owners to get more input before any action is decided. One of the few items all respondents agreed on was the lack of bike racks which will be addressed according to the staff report.  Used oil recycling  Council received a response from the B.C. Used Oil Management Association on the delivery of their recycling programs in the region. After discussion, council decided to respond to the BCUOMA and request that they be given the authority to run a city program in conjunction with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary dependent on funding. Councillor Gene Robert put the motion forward.  “I want the City of Grand Forks to formally request a used oil program within the city,” said Robert. He suggested that there be a depot at the regional landfill. Lift station grounds rehabilitation approved  Phase one of a four part project to rehabilitate and improve the City Park lift station grounds and parking areas was approved for a total cost of $172,588.50. Funding for the rehabilitation work has been received from grants and is included in the financial plan for 2011 / 12, said Cecile Arnott, chief financial officer for the city. Future phases of the project will be completed as funding is accessed through grants.  Other  The city’s five-year financial plan received its third and final reading as a bylaw. Councillor Gene Robert and Wirischagin registered their votes against the plan.

A concern from a resident, Frank Conrad, was brought forward by Mayor Brian Taylor. Conrad is requesting that an official crosswalk be placed near the A & W Restaurant on Highway #3. With the new trail ending near the restaurant and other services on the south side of the highway, there seems to be a higher volume of pedestrians crossing illegally. Conrad’s concerns for the safety will be taken forward to a discussion with the Ministry of Transportation and Highways which is responsible for all highway crossings, said Taylor. 

Categories: GeneralPolitics