SUMMING IT UP: Grand Forks City Council

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
October 16th, 2011

The last meeting of Grand Forks city council to hear delegations until after the elections in November heard from the citizen-driven heritage review committee and later adopted their recommendations.  Representing the committee, Ken Flagel presented the report on recommendations for a downtown heritage program to create and maintain certain qualities of exterior building design as well as signs, lighting and aesthetics such as trees (Downtown plan gets public input for full story) last Tuesday, Oct. 11.  Two motions related to the presentation were passed by council, although the third was defeated. Councillor Joy Davies introduced the motions to first, strike an advisory design panel which would advise council on all heritage building / properties going through the development permit process or renovations using the guidelines in the heritage report; and second, to adopt the guidelines presented in the heritage program report from the Heritage Branch of B.C.  “I’m apprehensive at this point about trying at the end of term to get it all done and not necessarily doing it well,” Councillor Chris Moslin argued. “Without the commitment of the next council, it won’t happen at all. We need to cut them.” Moslin asked to refer these recommendations on to the next council, but council acted otherwise.  Despite the question of timing council proceeded to set these actions in motion by adopting the recommendations. The third recommendation, to set the advisory design panel to work creating design criteria for planning, was defeated. “I think we can set the benchmark at the end of our term to recognize (the program),” Councillor Gene Robert concluded.  Grand Forks Hotel application for liquor permit amendment  After deferring their decision on the application from the Grand Forks Hotel to include patio seating of up to 39 people in their permitted area for liquor service, council considered the question again at their last meeting.  Mandy Nordahn, manager of the pub, appeared before council to answer their questions. After a round of questions covering the area of service, times of operation, and other concerns raised by the pub’s neighbour the Imperial Motel, council voted to support their application to the B.C. Liquor Control Board. The BCLC will be doing its own evaluation of the application prior to any approval.  Councillor reports  Much of the council meeting was spent on the many reports from individual councillors on their work over the past few weeks, and in particular at the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference which most attended.  Councillors were able to talk with provincial level representatives on the issues of: health care services, un-licenced daycare, utility smart meters, and bus services as well as attending forums which covered topics such as asset management and urban deer management.  Referendum topics  Two referendum questions are on the ballot for Grand Forks residents to approve borrowing of up to $5 million for upcoming infrastructure upgrades and repairs. Council is offering information sessions for anyone interested in learning more about the questions over the next two weeks – click here for more information on dates and locations.  Other  Council finalized the adoption of the Sustainable Community Plan bylaw which ensure this plan is the official community plan for Grand Forks.

The adoption of the annual tax exemption bylaw for non-profit organizations was also given its first three readings for the upcoming 2012 budget. 

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