SUMMING IT UP: Grand Forks Council evaluates its image

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
April 24th, 2012

The economic development committee’s proposal to re-allocate $30,000 in funding set for building entrance signs to the City of Grand Forks was squashed and sent back to the committee by council at their last meeting.

The proposal, brought forward by councillor Gary Smith, was to move half of the total $60,000 set aside by council for the sign project over to be used for branding the city. Smith explained that the committee had defined its goals at their last meeting and felt that the priority should be first on creating a brand, or marketing image, and then move on to projects that incorporate that brand.

“Like Coca Cola, MacDonalds, or any company, they update their image,” said Smith. “I think that’s what we need to do and I think that’s what people are looking for here.”

Two councillors, Neil Krog and Michael Wirischagin, argued against the motion. Krog suggested that involving expensive consultants for the process is not a wise use of money, while Wirischagin didn’t feel $30,000 was enough.

“I don’t think branding is a bad idea,” Wirischagin opened. “I don’t think $30,000 is enough. $30,000 might get us a brand, but nothing else. We have to look at what it’s going to cost to change signage to incorporate brands. We have to look at what it’s going to cost to change street banners to incorporate a brand. It’s not going to be cheap.”

The motion was defeated and Krog attempted to reframe the question to assist the committee to move forward. His motion to use $5,000 for a local consultant to facilitate a community discussion to create the brand was tabled and sent back to the committee for consideration.

Roxul notice of work

Council reviewed a notice of work request from Roxul Inc. for mineral exploration at their Friday Quarry located 40 kilometers up the North Fork road. They will be removing a one-time 10,000 tonne bulk sample of talus material from the site for testing as a raw material in its Grand Forks plant. The sample will be collected by an excavator and then crushed on site to be hauled to their plant. Council did not have any comments for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources on the project.

Financial bylaws

The loan authorization bylaws for the two capital projects approved by referendum last fall were given their first three readings by council. The bylaws will allow council to borrow up to $5 million to improve the emergency water supply in the west end of the city, and to start the infrastructure repairs renewing roads, water lines and sewers.

The last reading of the five-year financial plan for the city was passed. There are still $114,000 in community funding requests that have been left out of the plan until agreement can be reached with the Regional District of the Kootenay Boundary regarding joint contributions.

The total impact of the new financial plan on taxpayers has not been determined, but overall spending has been set at a six percent increase over last year. Wirishagin was the sole negative vote for the plan.

Benefit concert

The benefit concert for the survivors of the hotel fires, organized in part by council, was a success raising $1352 for the trust fund. Five local rock bands played at the concert held in the Grand Forks Curling Rink on Sunday, Apr. 15 including the mayor Brian Taylor’s Buck Naked and the Saddletramps, and councillor Gary Smith’s Bugsy and the Satellite Blues.

Categories: GeneralPolitics